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After successful displays and experiments in the cities of New York and Berlin, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory with the aim to redesign urban spaces in cities, is now in Mumbai between December 9, 2012 and January 20, 2013. The Mumbai Lab has been set up in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the BMW group, and the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai. Curated by Maria Nicanor and David van der Leer, the mobile lab has been described as a public gathering space, an urban think-tank, and a global project that aims to build awareness about urban challenges and the sustainable, optimum utilization of city spaces. Led by interdisciplinary teams from the areas of art, design, technology, urbanism, sustainability, and education, the BMW Guggenheim Lab promises an intellectual and visual treat to visitors and participants.
The theme this year is Confronting Comfort where the Lab will delve deeper into the ways and means in which urban environments can be made more conducive for living and promoting sustainable solutions. Free programs have been arranged as part of the Lab’s efforts in Mumbai and these encompass a wide range of activities such as tours, walks, film screenings, discussions, and conceptualizing and rethinking the Kala Nagar traffic junction in Mumbai’s most populous suburb, Bandra.
“The idea of the project is to engage the public in debates and conversations about how cities function. We believe that the conversation and thinking [about] cities will change. We have no clue what cities are about and we need projects to know what cities are about. It’s super important to bring in people who live in cities to bring in new ideas”, says David van der Leer.
To further research and development in urban planning and design, the Lab is also initiating a number of projects that are being conceptualized with the collaboration of Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR). Besides the main location in the Museum, the Lab has set up many satellite sites all across the city in Priyadarshini Park, Horniman Circle, Sambhaji Park, Byculla, and Mahim Beach. The Lab promises many exciting events and the icing on the cake – it’s all free!
Among the many radical thinkers associated with the Mumbai Lab’s conceptualization, a few deserve special mention – Aisha Dasgupta, a British demographer; Neville Mars, a Dutch architect; Hector Zamora, a Mexican artist; Trupti Vaitla, an architect and urban transport designer.
Mumbai’s fascinating and rich cultural history make it an enriching experience for participants from all over the world. “From the beginning, we were certain that we wanted one venue of the first cycle of the BMW Guggenheim Lab to be in Asia and after careful deliberation, we selected Mumbai. A vibrant, diverse city, with a fascinating and complex history, Mumbai is the most populous city in India and one of the most populous in the world. Together with our local partner, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, it will be an endlessly rewarding place to explore and create dialogue around a range of urban issues, including access to comfort and culture, environment and social issues,” said Richard Armstrong, director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation in a report to The Economic Times.
Image Courtesy : Bmwguggenheimlab