Mumbai: History of lettering behind iconic buildings in Kala Ghoda

Oct 29, 2018, 08:45 IST | Dalreen Ramos

Heritage walk organised by Trip 360, will explore the South Mumbai heritage buildings through a typographic lens

Mumbai: History of lettering behind iconic buildings in Kala Ghoda
Tanya George

It is hard to be a Mumbaikar and not fall in love with the crescent-shaped district that although geographically isn't at the heart of Mumbai, gives the city's art the elevation it needs. Kala Ghoda, as an art hub, has been defined and redfined. It all began in the 18th century, when businessman Albert Abdullah David Sassoon commissioned a statue of the then Prince of Wales, King Edward VII, set in black stone that gave it its name.

After moving to the Byculla Zoo in 1965, a new statue was proposed by the Kala Ghoda Association, making it a permanent symbol. And this Sunday, through a walk organised by Trip 360, the spot becomes a starting point to discover the many heritage buildings, the memories of which stand to fade over time. Fortunately, their signboards remain.

St Thomas Cathedral
St Thomas Cathedral

Typographer Tanya George has been walking around the area for a decade and the visible diversity in the lettering and language she observed translated into a dissertation. George then proceeded to helm type walks around the area, taking attendees through the historical and cultural context of signage on iconic buildings that include St Thomas Cathedral, Rhythm House, Yazdani Bakery, and St Peter's, a Syrian Christian church. But there's always something new to discover on every visit with attendees.

Rhythm House, one of the stops in the type walk
Rhythm House, one of the stops in the type walk

"It's a very organic process. Although the route for the walk remains the same, people often spot new letters or correlate them with something else they've seen at another location," she explains, adding that she is planning to adapt the walk to other areas in Mumbai as well. "With St Thomas' Cathedral, there is so much typography left to be explored within the interiors. And although this walk is limited to the exteriors, I will be delving into what the shops and buildings meant for the shopkeeper or the builder, and how type played a role in who they planned on letting inside," she says.

ON November 4, 8 am to 9.30 am
AT Kala Ghoda, Fort 
CALL 9930086252
Cost Rs 750

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