100 Years
100 Stories

100 Years 100 Stories

Deco Glitz

In Bombay, Art Deco mirrored the upwardly mobile aspirations of an urban business class and in some cases princely elite, who were invigorated with fresh pride in the Swadeshi and yet determined to prove themselves as decisively modern. The upper classes comprising the business community emulated and imbibed contemporary fashions in western culture. They aspired to a lifestyle of glamour, which included jazz, ballroom dancing, cabaret, horse racing and cinema. This social environment was suited to the introduction of art deco interiors in building and ornamentation. Foreign educated architects returning to the city emulated Western designs in their own buildings. In addition, European artists, architects, engineers and designers who had fled from the political turbulence in Europe also exerted their influence in this regard. As royalty began visiting the city for shopping, sport or to attend the meetings of the Chamber of Princes, they built their own city homes and apartments in the Art Deco style, thus increasing its patronage. Art Deco favored the use of geometrical shapes, with zig zags, chevrons and sunbursts and horizontal and vertical streamlined forms. These were manifested not only through the facades of buildings but also in their interiors. Similar motifs and patterns were seen in terrazzo flooring work executed in Bombay buildings. Terrazzo in Mumbai’s Art Deco buildings spoke to these design values and showed a wide range of colors and patterns, creatively thought out and executed by Bharat.