This summer, vaMODERN was contacted out-of-the-blue by Carla Casu of Moleskine Europe announcing the newest architectural monographs published for their Inspiration and Process in Architecture Collection,with an unique opportunity to select one of the newly published titles and write an article about it. A few days later, a beautifully crafted Moleskine monograph arrived in Virginia from Italy, and I was truly moved by the beauty of the book itself, the visual presentation of each page, and tactile sensibility with which it was made. Unlike many image based design monographs, the Moleskine collection, created by author and professor Francesca Serrazanetti of Milan, curates and documents the process of making architecture: of drawing, of thinking, of writing, and of building. These monographs by Moleskine are quickly becoming classics of architectural writing and collections of singular work and should be added to the personal libraries of all who study architecture. – Josh McCullar, Richmond, Va
The titles are some of the world’s most prominent modern architects of our time, but I chose Studio Mumbai for all of the reasons I didn’t choose the others. There is something deeply comforting, quiet, humble, and yet richly palpable about the domestic architecture of Studio Mumbai, led by preeminent Indian architect Bijoy Jain. He may just be the most important architect you’ve never heard of. He was educated in the US and once worked in Richard Meier’s model shop. Sometime along the way and after a time working in London, his native India beckoned him home. He sought to make a studio in the truest sense that operates as a design build workshop in the humid and warm tropical climate of Mumbai. There, along with a handful of associates, he employs the talents of native artisans to build the architecture by hand. This architecture is a living testament, that the most beautiful and humane artifacts of the creative process are born slowly and with a purpose of craft. While the modern world pushes humanity towards an ever faster life of high technology, Studio Mumbai has created a rich assemblage of architecture born of the indigenous circumstances of place, and made with human hands on site one at a time. While modern, the work is unmistakably Indian in its vernacular. Materials are warmly toned tropical woods contrasting with blocks of local basalt stone, and hand rubbed white or light gray plaster. The designs are responsive to a humid climate, the need for cooling and air flow, and appeal to the basic instincts of human nature with louvered wood sliding screens and operable walls to modulate these effects with beautifully low-tech solutions. It is a kind of architecture in total collaboration with the cycles of nature and the environment.
two of the many videos of Studio Mumbai’s work available on Vimeo