Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?

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Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?

Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?

Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?

Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?

Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?

Art Deco: What is it and where can you see it in Mumbai?


The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco buildings of Bombay recently entered the UNESCO Heritage list.

What is Art Deco? Art Deco is a modern art style that was born in Europe between the two world wars. It gets its name from the Paris show, Arts Decoratifs which took place in 1925 when this art movement was at its peak.

What’s so unique about Art Deco? This style was heavily influenced by big changes in transport, trade, music and culture at that time.

What does that mean? The design is inspired by industrial machines, the front grill of a car, or nautical features like the porthole of a ship.

Chrysler Building, New York City

Typical features of art deco:

  • geometric designs
  • bold colours
  • fountain patterns
  • sunbursts, and
  • several other depictions of strength and power

These smooth clean designs were in everything – fashion, clothing and jewellery, furniture, household items like crockery, writing pens and telephones, buildings and other structures and even lettering used on signs.

Famous Art Deco buildings – the Chrysler building in New York, the BBC Broadcasting House in London and the Metro Theatre in Bombay are just some of the famous buildings in this style.

Mumbai has one of the largest collections of Art Deco buildings in the world after Miami. There are a bunch of them along Marine Drive and in Churchgate.

Let’s see if you can recognise the pictures in the gallery above – those of you in Mumbai, maybe you could take a walk around the city and spot them as you go. Send us photos of yourself besides the building – we’d love to see what you spotted!

Contributed by: Purnima Thacker, a keen art admirer, nature enthusiast, intellectual property lawyer and mum to a curious 8 year old. 

Photos: All photos, unless otherwise credited, by Purnima Thacker

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