Rahul Mehrotra, an architect, conservator and an urban planner has been at the forefront of his generation in several important conservation projects such as in the Mumbai Kala Ghoda area as well as the Chowmalla palace complex at Hyderabad amongst o thers. His practice conceives/conceptualises projects from urban housing, commercial spaces and unusual projects like elephant stables and mahout residences for the Rajasthan Government. Mehrotra also designs spaces for activist groups in rural and urban India. Recently in Chennai tolaunch “Bombay Deco” in collaboration with Sharada Diwedi, Mehrotra speaks on his works, conservation and his teaching practice at MIT in the US.
Can you tell me the different reactions you have had to your latest collaborative book “Bombay Deco”?
The most interesting reactions have been from people in the city who are in their 60s and 70s – the generation that grew up in this environment of the art deco buildings in Mumbai! They are not only nostalgic about what they see in the book but also very appreciative of the interpretations and historic perspective on what they took for granted as the landscape they grew up with. For others in the city, they seem to appreciate that fact that so much they don’t notice in their everyday comings and goings has been pointed out