What do a child’s first birthday party, a black-tie dinner hosted by a foreign consulate, a pop-up sale and a hula-hoop workshop have in common? You can hold any of these events (and many more you can think of) in Ave 29’s Hughes Road event gallery or its soon-to-be launched extension in Santacruz.
Normally, a gallery is associated with art but, through Ave 29, 24 year-old Pia Shivdasani and 25 year-old Atmika Didwania play host to a wide range of events in space-starved Mumbai. “Usually when people host events, they either have to rent a banquet hall or a five-star hotel,” says Didwania. “Apart from the costs involved, both have a certain kind of look and feel to them which can’t be played around with much.” Their solution was to provide the city with an affordable and flexible alternative for people who wanted a fun, creative space for their events.
Started in August this year, the versatile gallery garnered such a positive response that they decided to launch a branch at Santacruz. “People in South Mumbai are a little set in their ways. A lot more young people live in places in and around Santacruz. They’re more proactive about launching fun, new things and respond well to them too,” says Shivdasani.
Largely similar to, if a little smaller than, its counterpart at Hughes Road, the new loft is located on the 6th floor of a plush building. With large glass windows, wooden floors and a nifty kitchenette, the space can be customised to fit in with whatever the client needs. The building’s central location makes it easy to find for even the most directionally dyslexic.
Apart from the prime property, Ave 29 also offers its team’s event planning services. “We try to provide the complete package,” says Shivdasani. The team consults with clients and accordingly customises the space and experience.
They will also source decorations, food and beverages if the client opts for it. “The price they end up paying is much lower than what they would pay outside,” reasons Didwania. The flexibility the gallery offers in terms of booking is another huge advantage. “We have a daily rate, a weekly rate and a special rate for workshops that last three hours or less,” says Shivdasani.
To encourage people to come up with out-of-the-box ideas, the two plan to host events like the Beer Olympics and the Midnight Entrepreneurship Club to demonstrate both galleries’ potential. “We think these new events will be received well by the young suburban crowd. Eventually our goal is to build a community of creative people who enjoy attending different literary and cultural events,” says Didwania.
Ave 29’s Santacruz branch is slated to open mid-December.