Mumbai Lab

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From December 9, 2012 through January 20, 2013, the BMW Guggenheim Lab was open in Mumbai, the third stop on the project’s global tour. During the six weeks of its Mumbai presentation, organized in collaboration with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, the Lab offered 165 free programs over 29 days, including design projects, surveys, tours, talks, workshops, and film screenings. The central location of the Lab was on the grounds of the museum in Mumbai’s Byculla neighborhood; additionally, nearly half of the public programs were held at satellite locations throughout the city, making the Lab available to a wide range of audiences and communities.

The Mumbai Lab’s programs were conceived by Mumbai Lab Team members Aisha Dasgupta, Neville Mars, Trupti Amritwar Vaitla, and Héctor Zamora, together with Guggenheim curator David van der Leer and curatorial assistant Stephanie Kwai, and developed with locally based program consultants Swati Abhijit, Sourav Biswas, Vikram Doctor, Naresh Fernandes, Ammar Mahimwalla, Alisha Sadikot, Surabhi Sharma, and Pooja Warier, along with Paris-based program consultant Aaron Pereira.

Addressing challenges and opportunities related to public space and the choices Mumbaikars make to balance individual and community interests, the programs were designed for audiences of all ages. Programs ranged from high-level stakeholder discussions on Mumbai’s urban design and policy issues in the “Meet in the Middle” series; exchanges between professional and informal practitioners in a variety of fields in the “Bridging” series; interactive events and hands-on activities for families in the “City Dreams” series presented by the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum; accessible and entertaining explorations of important social and urban issues, such as women’s comfort and safety in social spaces, in the “Unwrapping Mumbai” series; and workshops and activities for children and senior citizens.

Several projects were designed to continue after the Mumbai Lab’s closing, including a research project and a visual survey examining Mumbaikars’ perception of privacy and its relationship to public space. The results of the studies, which were developed in collaboration with Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR) and the Design Cell at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidji Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA), will be forthcoming.

Among the design proposals developed by the Mumbai Lab was Landlink, a project that explored ways to refit existing water pipe infrastructure. In addition, an international design competition in collaboration with Mumbai Environmental and Social Network (MESN) and administered by Lord Cultural Resources, was launched to reimagine the Kala Nagar Traffic Junction, one of the busiest transportation hubs in Mumbai. Select elements of the winning entries will be considered by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), one of Mumbai’s main city agencies overseeing the revamping of the Kala Nagar Traffic Junction, for implementation in the coming years.

The physical structure for the Mumbai Lab, designed by Tokyo-based Architects Atelier Bow-Wow, working with Mumbai-based firm SDM Architects, will remain after the Lab’s run in Mumbai. An L-shaped structure made primarily of bamboo for the plaza at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum will stay at the museum and be used as an informal gathering space for visitors.

See the Mumbai Lab’s full calendar of events and view images of past events in our multimedia section.

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