Bombay Deco—second largest collection of Art Deco buildings outside of Miami


Mumbai skyline, Indiai, 2017

“Savvy architects gave the style a local twist that has come to be known as Bombay Deco, which included nautical themes such as portholes and waves; images of Hindu deities like Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and floral motifs, especially the sacred lotus flower.”

Mumbai, also or formerly known as Bombay, is one of the most populous cities in the world. Located on a natural harbor on the west coast of India, Mumbai also is India’s wealthiest city. While human settlement at the site of Mumbai dates back as far as the 3rd century BCE, the foundation of the modern city has its roots in the Portuguese Empire that took control via treaty in 1534. The Portuguese embarked on a building program of churches and forts, reflecting both the desire to expand the Catholic order and the military strategic location with its natural harbor. England embarked on a series of assaults to gain control of what was now known as Bombay, and also to fend off the Dutch empire that was also attempting to gain a foothold in that part of India. The East Indian Company placed its headquarters in Bombay in 1687, leading both to large-scale wealth creation and large-scale engineering projects to combine the seven harbor islands into one mega-city.

After several centuries of British rule, and continued financial success of Bombay as a global trading center, India gained independence in 1947. Following independence, Bombay continued to build and grow substantially. Although Mumbai’s buildings represent a variety of architectural styles, the growth of the city after independence corresponded with a time that Art Deco architecture was popular in many parts of the world. One result is that Mumbai today has more Art Deco buildings than any other city in the world besides Miami. (Photo of the Mumbai Skyline in 2017 by Ammolbhat is shared here under CC BY-SA-4.0).

Documenting the Rich Art Deco Riches of Mumbai

By Charukesi Ramadurai

CityLab

August 28, 2017