BMW Guggenheim Lab Opens At The Bhau Daji Lad Museum

December 7, 2012 7:21 am by

A rendering of the BMW Guggenheim Lab at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum.

The BMW Guggenheim Lab, which has been a tantalising prospect for months now, finally opens at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum on Sunday, December 9. An initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and BMW that has been curated by David van der Leer and Maria Nicanor, the travelling Lab, which has been described as a “part urban think tank, part community centre and public gathering space”, comes to Mumbai after stints in New York and Berlin. It inaugurates the “plaza”, an empty expanse behind the Bhau Daji Lad Museum that will henceforth be used for events. The Lab, which will be open until Sunday, January 20, 2013, will take place in an L-shaped bamboo, rope and canvas edifice designed by Japanese architects Atelier Bow-Wow. In between events, visitors can sample the museum’s new cafe that will open near the Lab on Sunday, December 9 in a spot that was previously a storage room.

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,” says van der Leer. “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.” The events have been programmed along themes. For instance, “Meet in the Middle” features panel discussions on the subjects of transportation, space, housing, environment, investment and urban planning; “City Dreams” has activities that involve imagining Mumbai’s future; “Food for Thought” is a set of talks about food and the city; and a selection of film screenings offers city-related Bollywood movies, documentaries and animation films.

The Lab is also collaborating with people and institutions on a number of projects. For instance, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR) is conducting a research project titled “Your Place, My Place, Our Public Space? Privacy and Spaces in Mumbai”; “Transformers” is a participatory event in which visitors can decorate the Lab; and students and professionals are invited to re-imagine the chaotic Kala Nagar traffic junction in Bandra East as part of a competition (the registration deadline is Tuesday, December 11). If you can’t make it to the museum, you can instead visit some of the Lab’s satellite sites such as Horniman Circle, Priyadarshini Park, Sambhaji Park in Mulund, Batliboy Compound in Byculla, and Mahim Beach, where events will take place on certain dates from 5pm to 9pm. The Lab will be open from Thursday to Monday, from 3pm to 9pm (it will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).

For a complete schedule of events, see here.