The Miami of India: Art Deco in Mumbai

This post first appeared on Miami Condo Black Book.

Did you know that Mumbai has the second largest number of surviving art deco buildings in the world after Miami? Nicknamed ‘Bombay Deco,’ Mumbai’s distinctive art deco architecture is a blend of art deco with traditional Indian motifs, creating a distinctive local style. An ensemble of Bombay Deco buildings was recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on June 30th, 2018.

Centered on the south side of Mumbai, the art deco style blossomed after the first world war, when India was a part of the British Empire. Office buildings, apartment buildings, hotels and cinemas all display the distinctive style.

Both Mumbai, then known as Bombay, and Miami boomed in the 1930s—when art deco was at the peak of popularity—but for different reasons. Miami boomed as a seasonal tourist town. Art Deco hotels sprouted up, as well as apartment houses catering to tourists coming for the winter season. In Bombay, a middle-class boom in the 1930s, as well as a cultural fascination with architectural modernity and progressive western ideas led to that city’s boom in art deco. For more information, artdecomumbai.com is a fascinating resource.

Similarities in the localized art deco styles of Mumbai and Miami include the iconic frozen fountain motif, streamlining and rounded corners, nautically-inspired features, and tropical imagery, tailored to the subtropical climates of both cities.

Featured image via Art Deco Mumbai.

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