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Why Deco In Delhi?

Updated: Sep 19, 2020



Heritage in India is broadly understood as structures, sites, traditions, knowledge, objects that are more than a 100 years old. When the heritage of Delhi is reviewed, the emphasis has always been on ancient, medieval and even colonial periods that receive greater recognition.

Apart from the commonly perceived heritage, Delhi has a substantial stock of Art Deco which once upon a time contributed to its cultural landscape significantly, something that is easily forgotten when talking about the history of Delhi.

Even the most visible evidence of Art Deco in Delhi - the built structures which are already identified as significant, are still not considered worthy of protection by heritage organisation in India working towards this cause.


The discussion about Delhi's heritage often gets diluted beyond its declaration as the new British Capital and the umbrella of Colonial style overshadowing the other art movements taking shape in the city. One such style - Art Deco, travelled across the world and gradually spread to all parts of India. Bombay being its hub, the style left an impact on artists and designers across the length of the country. Delhi too, witnessed the style becoming popular for bungalows and palatial houses, hotels and cinema halls, as well as vast expanses of middle class houses including the influence on patterns and objects in them.


The introduction of new materials, design patterns and motifs under this style had popularised enough to reach the common man enabling an overall experimentation in the development of India’s arts and design sensibilities.

This also influenced factories and industries that started to open up in various Indian cities to develop the infrastructure needed to cater for the new style.


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Image : Varun Shiv Kapur (Sarson Ke Khet)


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