THE BONJOUR INDIA EXPERIENCE
BUILT UP AREA:
Institut Français en Inde, The Embassy of France , India
India Gate (New Delhi), Cross Maidan Garden (Mumbai), Salt Lake Central Park (Kolkata)
Cultural, Public Infrastructure, Urbanism.
Institut Francais India, Mosquito Massala, Ant Studio, Tagg Labs and Zed Interactive
Archdaily | Architizer | Rethinking the Future
Archmarathon, Global Architecture and Design Awards 2018, IIID , India's Best Design Awards 2019, The Merit List.
SpaceMatters curated and designed the Bonjour India Experience pavilion, a one-of-its-kind travelling exhibition at the heart of Bonjour India that celebrated Indo-French collaboration. Combining art, architecture, experience design and urbanism, the 9 meter high, 800 square metres and 40 tonne installation travelled approximately 3500 kilometres from the iconic India Gate in Delhi to Cross Maidan Garden behind the historic Churchgate Station Mumbai to become the star attraction of the world’s largest book fair in Kolkata. It welcomed more than 180,000 visitors over a period of 30 odd days spread over the three cities.
As an intervention in public space the pavilion is designed to integrate itself with the site conditions at each location. The metal members and mesh provide for varying gradations of visual permeability, allowing the structure to weave into the urban surroundings, both emerging from and merging into the context. Views of iconic monuments at each site, such as the India Gate in Delhi and the Churchgate Railway Terminus in Mumbai are framed within the layered silhouette of the structural contours and wire mesh.
The metal curves, arranged in a modular symmetry spiraling out from a central core, consist of a rhythmic arrangement of staggered, self-supporting steel members draped with 20,000 square feet of hand woven steel mesh. The massive self-supporting structure is designed down to the last joint to be flat packed and largely hand installed in the shortest possible time. Combining the precision of cutting edge engineering and unique expression of craft, the design pays homage to the ingenuity and abstraction that is the hallmark of both French and Indian architecture.
The pavilion’s inclusive accessibility and interaction with the urban context became its defining characteristic and was instrumental to its success. In the visitors’ book of the Bonjour India Pavilion, people often remarked at the pleasure of encountering the unexpected on an ordinary day; the joy of a whirlwind journey into a French culture on the way to the everyday commute to work, the discovery of a new land and language, and the rediscovery of new aspects of our own shared history. Reaffirming the power of carefully produced and generously accessible space to tell our shared stories, the project embodied the Bonjour India themes of creativity, innovation and partnership between India and France in its process and outcome.