In a matter of months—on December 9, to be exact—the Lab will be opening once again, this time in Mumbai. The Mumbai Lab will be helmed by a brand new Lab Team, announced today, which is, as usual, an excitingly eclectic mix. Watching a demographer, artist, and two urban planner/architects find common ground to work on = seriously awesome.
Carrying the banner as the local Lab Team member in the group is Trupti Amritwar Vaitla, a Mumbai-based architect and urban designer currently researching issues related to public spaces and sustainable mobility for the city. Interesting to note this time around, however, is that the three Lab Team members from abroad all work in places other than their home countries. Aisha Dasgupta, a demographer from the United Kingdom with a background in international development, is based in Malawi, where she focuses on reproductive health and family planning research and food security. Neville Mars, who is based in Shanghai, is an architect and planner from the Netherlands; he combines urban research and design to respond to China’s rapid growth and pressured market conditions. Mexican artist Héctor Zamora, who works largely in public spaces, and with the communities surrounding them, is based in São Paolo.
While the Lab Team in Berlin defined for themselves an overarching theme of “making,” the Lab Team in Mumbai has selected the relationship of the individual to the community—especially in regards to public space—as a distinct sub-theme to the larger Lab theme of Confronting Comfort.
Oh, and did I mention that an entirely new structure will be used, made from bamboo this time? The day-to-day programming will happen both there and at several external mobile Lab sites, which will be strewn throughout the city in an effort to reach a broader geographic and social demographic.
In the coming weeks I’ll share interviews with the Mumbai Lab Team members to help you get to know them and their work a little better. I’ll also be talking more about the new structure and the neighborhoods of the external sites—which I’ll use as my jumping-off point to begin to wrap my head around the complexities of this mega mega-city. Wish me luck, and stay tuned!
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Photo: Arjunan Sanjayan