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Bombay Art Deco Architecture: A Visual Journey (1930-1953)

Bombay Art Deco Architecture: A Visual Journey (1930-1953)
Item Code: IDI725
Author: Navin Ramani, Edited by Laura Cerwinske
Publisher: Lustre Press, Roli Books
ISBN: 8174364471
Pages: 295 (Illustrated Throughout in Full Color))
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.1" X 9.1
From The Jacket

Bombay Art Deco Architecture-A Visual Journey 1930-1953 presents a treasury of Art Deco buildings comprising residential, commercial and public architecture created during the glamorous and optimistic era of the mid 1930s and 1940s. The architects, a small list of the first generation of modern Indian architects, were trained in western architectural traditions, if not actually in the West. These architects, influenced by the fashionable aesthetic current in Europe, were eager to imbue the city with a new modern style. That style shares its provenance with the Art Deco architecture of Miami Beach, termed Tropical Deco by Laura Cerwinske in her seminal 1981 book. Built in the same era, the Art Deco architecture of the two cities exhibits similar scale, geometry, tropical vocabulary, and love of romance.

Author Navin Ramani lived in Bombay for 21 years, in an Art Deco apartment building called Court View formerly owned by his grandparents. Much of his childhood was spent exploring his Deco-rich neighborhood. It was not until Ramani moved to Miami in 1989 and encountered the Miami Beach Art Deco District that he recognized the great architectural legacy of his hometown. But while that great treasury of Miami Beach hotels and apartments has been internationally recognized, nationally protected, and well documented, the larger assembly of Art Deco buildings in Bombay has, until now, been taken for granted. Bombay Art Deco Architecture provides an insightful exploration of its beauty and abundance.

An American originally from India, Navin Ramani, grew up in the city then called Bombay. He is a graduate of Sydenham College, University of Bombay and received a Masters of Business Administration from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Ramani's career in the United States has included collaborations with leading architects in India and Miami as a developer's project coordinator. He serves on the board of The Miami Design Preservation League, the organization responsible for listing of the Miami Beach Art Deco District in the National Register of Historic Places, and was co-chairman of the Art Deco Weekend Festival in 2005. he has led guided architectural tours of the Art Deco District since 2002, has lectured in Miami on Bombay's Art Deco style, and has been an honorary tour guide of Bombay's Art Deco architecture for the United Kingdom-based conservation organizations, the Cinema Theatre Association and The twentieth Century Society.

A founding member of the Florida Chapter of The congress for The New Urbanism, Ramani also provided extensive research for the publication of A Guidebook to New Urbanism in Florida 2005.

Back Of The Book

Miami Beach and Bombay, two subtropical cities built on islands, both with large portions of their land reclaimed from the sea share a unique architectural kinship - ART DECO.

David Dermer
Mayor of Miami Beach, Florida, 2006

The Art Deco buildings of Bombay are rapidly being transformed by the exigencies of space and neglect. Navin Ramani's book awakens world attention to this treasury of Indian architecture and to the delights of the wonderful Art Deco movement in Bombay's history.

Rahul Mehrotra
Governor of the Heritage Conservation Committee of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA)

Author's Note

The design credits for a large majority of the buildings have been identified by the name of the firm or company to which the individual architect or designer responsible for the project was associated. An exception is made for credits attributed to Gajanan Baburao Mhatre, who from his early association with the firm of Poonegar and Billimoria played an instrumental role in its design commissions in addition to subsequently overseeing noteworthy designs for numerous buildings as a consulting architect.

Officially, Bombay has been known as Mumbai since 1996. in this book, the city is referred to as Bombay because the original name was still in use during the era of its architectural ascent in the 1930s.

The street addresses have been identified by the names in use during the era covered in the book. Their current Official names additionally appear in brackets. While every effort has been made to identify and match the current street addresses with their former names, an apology is made for any unintentional errors or omissions. Their notification to the publishers is welcome for any correction to be made in any subsequent reprint.

In this book the English is spelt in accordance with the language construction practised in England and India.


Lovers of Art Deco will be both delighted and surprised by this book. It reveals the extraordinary survival in Mumbai, still widely known as Bombay, of clusters of Art Deco office blocks, low-rise apartment buildings, hotels and cinemas dating from the last two.

David Vinnels
Brent Skelly
Authors, Bollywood Showplaces, Cinema Theatres in India
Michael D. Kinerk
Chairman Emeritus, Miami Design Preservation League
Dennis Wilhelm
Chair, Barbara Baer Capitman Archives
Authors with Barbara Capitman, Rediscovering Art Deco U. S. A.:
Bombay: Asian City With A European Past29
The Dawn of Art Deco in Bombay35
Bombay Art Deco Motifs65
The Frozen Fountain ! Streamlining ! Tropical Imagery ! Egyptian and Classical Elements ! The Influence of Indian Tradition and Mythology ! Nautical Design Features ! Ziggurats and Zigzags ! Eyebrows, Angles and Grilles ! Architectural Lettering
The Building155
Public and Commercial
Cinemas: Regal, Eros, Liberty, New Empire, Metro
Bombay-Mlami Beach (BoMi) Deco251
A Tale of Two Subtropical Deco Cities
Preserving And Resurrecting Bombay Art Deco 273
Index / Appendices277
Building and District Index ! Glossary ! Bibliography & Suggested Reading
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