OPEN AT 47-A in Mumbai is India’s first gallery dedicated exclusively to design!
Baro Market founder Srila Chatterjee’s new collaborative venture, Open At 47-A is located in Mumbai’s heritage village Khotachi Wadi
Nestled in the bylanes of Mumbai’s elite SoBo area is the pretty little village of Khotachi Wadi in Girgaum, a vestibule of colonial legacy, replete with Indo-Portuguese architecture and a handful of descendants of the original occupiers—Christians who were the earliest settlers in Mumbai. With the advent of modernisation, a mere 27 of its original 65 bungalows remain, but currently, all eyes are on one address—47-A, where a brand-new gallery just opened to the public. Helmed by Srila Chatterjee, the founder of Baro Market and Chatterjee & Lal, a prominent name in the Mumbai art circles, this new space is India’s first gallery dedicated exclusively to design.
When Baro Market does something new, you cannot help but take notice, which is why we got all excited on seeing the teasers on Instagram and contacted Chatterjee to know more. “The gallery comprises a number of discreet spaces spread across a converted 19th-century house, built in the Portuguese colonial style. Khotachi Wadi has a rich cultural heritage that spans the arts—in particular, music and fine arts. With regular programming and a strong curatorial focus, the gallery will open a window onto a wide variety of design practices active in India, both contemporary and historical. It will showcase both well-known designers as well as those deserving of discovery,” explains Chatterjee.
It opened earlier this month with its first exhibition, aptly titled ‘OPEN AT 47-A’. This incorporates material chosen by Baro Market and Chatterjee & Lal respectively, to shine a light on the kind of programmes each of the founders will organise in the future, and establish interest areas to cultivate a dedicated audience. The website outlines the exhibition’s curatorial strategy ––“a shared belief that design, especially in the Indian context, should engage with audiences as widely as possible. The opening show is a presentation of our intent, a mission statement of sorts, and examples of the kind of work that we will be engaged with—design history and contemporary design.”
The gallerists plan to host a series of shows, each lasting roughly a month, and each presented by one of the partners working with a variety of curators. The display will consist of a combination of historic material used for referencing and items for sale to the public.
The founders’ design backgrounds have inspired the direction this space is set to take. Srila Chatterjee describes the Baro Market as “a bazaar of some of the best and most original handcrafted products across all kinds of categories that would come directly from the people who made them, telling their stories and weaving the magic of what they did, and making them available at sensible prices for people to really cherish and enjoy.” The Chatterjee & Lal gallery has always focused on the work of emerging and mid-career artists. More recently, they have added historical material to the corpus of knowledge on 20th century histories of art and design. Through 47-A Design, the team is pursuing a common goal of bolstering the design space in India while keeping its historical context alive. Having established its intent and caught the eye of a discerning crowd, it promises to be a space to watch for.