This week we received some early Christmas presents from India – from two sources.
First up, the Studio Mumbai team sent us copies of the photographs which we’d seen tantalisingly glimpses of during their scheme design presentation a few weeks ago, in November. The images (left) brilliantly evoke the urban context right behind their workshop – narrow corridors of space (by-products of the surrounding industrial infrastructure) appropriated as living space by a number of families. Studio Mumbai’s structure for our ‘1:1’ exhibition will be a direct response to this strand of informal, unauthorised architecture, and will offer an insight into this sector of Mumbai’s urban population which exists in a state of unofficial, un-recorded existence in terms of formal housing/population surveys. The images have been really useful in explaining the concepts behind the Studio Mumbai proposal to colleagues both within and outside the Museum, and they do a great job of conveying these claustrophobic yet agile solutions to high-density dwelling.
The second package of photographs came courtesy of our colleague, Karen Livingstone (V&A Head of Projects) who is currently on a sabbatical travelling around India.
Karen was very helpful in offering advice and support during the early stages of the exhibition’s development – and was invaluable in arranging those all-important site visits! Just before Karen left the project (and the country!) she had the opportunity to meet the Studio Mumbai team when they came to the UK for their presentations. Business cards were exchanged, and Karen duly followed up on her promise to visit the Studio Mumbai workshop when she passed through a few weeks ago. Having spent so many months in dialogue with Bijoy, Michael and the rest of the Studio Mumbai team, it’s fantastic to get a glimpse of what their own workspace looks like. I especially love the vintage display case with all the architectural models (see below). Karen also went on a walk through the serpentine corridor of dwelling space which Bijoy and team are using as inspiration for their ‘1:1’ commission (see image above, and bottom). It’s great to be able to take a virtual walk through these narrow spaces, and to imagine how this will translate to the exhibition experience in the V&A Cast Courts next June. Thanks for the photos, Karen!