Mumbai's defining moments with the sea

Storycity Mumbai: Exploring A City By The Sea is an illustrated collection of 24 experiences and anecdotes charting Mumbai’s relationship with the sea and its most defining moments. It will be available online, from today

The sea has played a crucial role in Mumbai's rise as a commercial hub and as a place where people migrated to. Celebrating the city's relationship with the sea is a new 40-page illustrated booklet set for release today.

With the help of a map and a 40-page booklet, Storycity Mumbai highlights the city’s intriguing stories
With the help of a map and a 40-page booklet, Storycity Mumbai highlights the city’s intriguing stories. pics courtesy/Aditya Palsule 

Titled Storycity Mumbai: Exploring A City By The Sea, the booklet was researched, written, illustrated and designed by the team at design studio, Kahani Designworks, along with writer Sourav Roy.

It includes a map of the city as well as a collection of 24 experiences exploring the city’s stories through monuments, museums and historic sites as well as through books and films that explore some aspect of Mumbai’s relationship with the sea.

There are 24 experiences shared in the book which explore the city through its historic sites and monuments
There are 24 experiences shared in the book which explore the city through its historic sites and monuments

The release of the booklet will be followed by a field trip as part of the UnBox Festival 2014 (December 12-14) to Delhi’s National Museum. They are hoping to plan a new title based on the stories discovered within the museum.

Coast along
Ruchita Madhok, co-founder, Kahani Designworks, elaborates on Storycity Mumbai: “The idea behind it was to experience this city in a fun, personal way. Instead of thinking of our monuments and historical places as boring and old-fashioned, we wanted to showcase them as relevant in today’s day and age.”

Storycity Mumbai: Exploring A City By The Sea

She adds that the idea came to them while walking along the seaside in Bandra: “While we were researching the material for this publication, we asked, ‘Why not celebrate this?’ The sea is why Mumbai is a trade hub, and why people from all over the world have moved here to live and work. The sea makes it unique; it’s why Mumbai has evolved into a commercial, cosmopolitan hub.”

Ruchita Madhok
Ruchita Madhok

The booklet provides an alternative perspective to heritage and also probes how museums (with low-audience turnout due to poor design and disinterest) can be re-invigorated as spaces belonging to the public, and not just sites of academic interest. “Rather than reinvigorating museums (which we cannot do directly), we would like to reinvigorate the visitor-ship to museums.

If more people visit museums and demand a better, world-class experience, it will encourage the sector to take its audiences more seriously. If we build demand, we hope that improves supply,” reiterates Madhok. The team hopes that it will connect with students, designers, architects, writers and travellers of all ages.

The booklet took over a year to be executed. Research for the booklet involved field visits and site research. “We also consulted books, films and magazines for inspiration. Our collaborators in the arts and cultural sector were also helpful in telling us about unusual places in Mumbai,” she emphasises.

Madhok recalls that gathering interesting stories was a joy as well as a challenge: “Our research took many design iterations to find a format that would be comfortable to understand. Since it has been a side project at the studio, finding time was difficult, but we’re pleased with the results.”

Madhok is hopeful that the booklet and map will encourage Mumbaikars and travellers to look at the city as a creative place where different stories live side by side. “This diversity is at the heart of our project and is our reason to celebrate Mumbai,” she summarises.

Available at:
It will also be available at select city museums from December 20.
Cost: Rs 750

Mumbai on their mind

The booklet is the fourth publication by the design studio. In May this year, they published guides to museums in Mumbai and Delhi to celebrate International Museums Day (they are available as free downloads from their website). Apart from this, they have also published A Storyseeker’s Guide To Mumbai Museums that highlights the experiences of nine interesting city museums.

UnBox festival 2014

The release of the booklet comes just ahead of the field trip Kahani Designworks is leading at UnBox Festival 2014 (December 12-14) to Delhi's National Museum, around which they are hoping to plan their fifth title. The field trip is titled Storycity Delhi: Unearthing the Narratives at the National Museum.

As part of the event, they will take attendees on a field trip to the National Museum in Delhi, in order to map, and discover the stories within the museum. They aim to discover the stories inside the museum, to challenge whether those notions are relevant to our cities today, and encourage participants to look at these ideas through their own perspective.

The UnBox Festival 2014 celebrates collaborations across disciplines and hosts practitioners from India and abroad from the fields of design, art, science, social innovation, technology and business. The festival includes workshops, seminars, music and dance performances and exhibitions that focus on socially relevant issues.

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