Vikas Dilawari picks lesser-known sites in Mumbai built in Art Deco style

Updated: Feb 02, 2018, 16:51 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani

On the eve of a workshop to celebrate Mumbai's Art Deco structures and their restoration, conservation architect Vikas Dilawari picks a few lesser-known sites in the city built in the iconic style

 Buildings in Art Deco style at Five Gardens. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Buildings in Art Deco style at Five Gardens. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Sir Pherozeshah Mehta Road in Fort offers a fine example of Indianised Art Deco that is unique to Mumbai. This road was built in the late 1920s to link Ballard Estate with Churchgate. A few old buildings were demolished and new structures came up on the widened road.

Five Gardens

It houses some of the best but lesser-known Art Deco buildings; unique in a way as these were designed by Indian architects influenced by the nationalist movement and have a subtle regional touch added to the international style, which is loosely called Bombay Deco. Nearby, the Citibank building and the Prospect Chamber on DN Road are also other good examples.

Elephant relief on the frieze in red Agra stone. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Beyond SoBo
From the 1930s to '50s, few bungalows at Altamount Road, Five Gardens in Dadar (in pic), and Matunga came up, and are good examples of the Art deco style. With the passage of time and as the city widened from Fort to the suburbs, the Deco accents reduced but still existed with some regional influences.Entrance of the building
Entrance of the building

The common highlights are the circular, angular balconies and staircase bay. Portuguese Church (Our Lady of Salvation) in Dadar, a few buildings in Mahim, Vile Parle, SV Road in Santacruz and on Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road (Girgaum) house excellent examples.

A sculpture of goddess Laxmi on a building on PM Road is a local element added by Indian architects
A sculpture of goddess Laxmi on a building on PM Road is a local element added by Indian architects

Dilawari's favourite
Hornby View in Ballard Estate with Iranian restaurant Ideal Corner on the ground floor. Also Jinnah House, and Dhanraj Mahal in Colaba that are known for their distinct lettering. The occasional use of coloured glass screens is another highlight of these buildings.

Dhanraj Mahal

Conservation matters
"It is sad that we don't respect Art Deco as an architectural style, and while designing interiors, don't care about its characteristics.

New grills in Art Deco style at  KR Cama Hall. Pic/Vikas Dilawari
New grills in Art Deco style at  KR Cama Hall. Pic/Vikas Dilawari

Enclosing balconies, changing flooring, adding box windows, using garish colour schemes that don't belong to the period, and wrong use of granite and marble can ruin the style," says Dilawari.

Lincoln House
Pic/AFP

The former US Consulate (Lincoln House that belonged to the erstwhile Maharaja of Wankaner; an aerial view in pic) in Breach Candy, Anand Bhavan, Jinnah House, and Hari Kunj on Peddar Road are some of the other splendid examples in South Mumbai.

Best time: First half of the day
Tip: Pick weekends. Fewer crowds ensure enough time to gaze at facades

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