Deco in Delhi is a self-led initiative by Geetanjali Sayal in collaboration with Prashansa Sachdeva (Architectural Researcher) and Bhawna Dandona (Conservation Architect) to research and document Delhi’s undervalued Art Deco heritage which was awarded India Foundation for the Arts Research Grant in March, 2021.
The grant has enabled Geetanjali and her team to study the contribution of Art Deco as a modernist movement in India with a focus on the architecture of Delhi. Exploring the intersections of arts and architecture, they will examine the role of Art Deco in shaping the cultural identity of Delhi under the British rule. Geetanjali aims to build appreciation for this ignored and disappearing style, along with the narratives of lesser-known artists, patrons, architects, artisans and local people associated with its propagation in Delhi.
With regard to Delhi, the emphasis of understanding built heritage has always been on ancient, medieval and colonial architecture. Art Deco, which once significantly contributed to the cultural landscape of the city, has often been neglected by the chroniclers who are focused on politically driven architectural styles. During the colonial times, alongside Bombay, Art Deco became a popular architectural style for bungalows, palatial houses, hotels and cinema halls, and vast expanses of middle-class houses in Delhi.
The introduction of new material, design patterns and motifs of this style reached the masses, thus enabling experimentation in the arts and design sensibilities of India. Factories and industries across various Indian cities cropped up to develop the infrastructure required for Art Deco architecture. The style also contributed to a range of cultural artefacts and spaces in Delhi and Bombay that included films, theatres, product designs, advertisements, fashion magazines, design journals, corporate buildings and architectural interiors. Through this project, Geetanjali aims to initiate and broaden the discussion on the notions of heritage in the present time by including Art Deco in its recognition and study.
Collaborators : Tulika Shrivastava – Architectural Research + Graphics Protyasha Pandey – Architectural Research + Documentation
To know more visit the project website