Fantasy Architecture

Workshops / Masterclass
Sunday, 12th February 2023
From 11:30am to 1:00pm (IST)


St+Art India Foundation, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and Avid Learning present Fantasy Architecture, a fascinating live lecture demonstration with Architect, Professor at Sir J.J. College of Architecture and Poet Mustansir Dalvi who will address the fascinating topic of whimsical architecture and fantasy, weaving in an element of poetry. Explore the inclusion of fantastical elements in built structures by examining a broad range of architectural production that pushed the boundaries of tradition and probe larger questions like the role of visionary architecture as a tool for inspiring change and optimism and encouraging critical thinking in young architects. This session will be part of the ongoing Mumbai Urban Arts Festival.

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Mustansir Dalvi

Mustansir Dalvi

Professor of Architecture at Sir JJ College of Architecture

Mustansir Dalvi is Professor of Architecture at Sir JJ College of Architecture. He is on the Board of Governors of the MMR Heritage Society and a Trustee of Art Deco Mumbai. In his doctoral research, completed IIT-Bombay in 2107, he explored the semiotics of Art Deco architecture in Bombay.

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St+Art India Foundation
St+Art India Foundation
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Event Video

Press Coverage

Architectural illusions

Architectural illusions

Sunday, February 5, 2023 Sunday Mumbai Mirror
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Fantasy Architecture

Fantasy architecture here refers to buildings and structures that are designed and constructed with elements that are inspired by imaginative themes. They range from theme parks to museums, to buildings that are visually striking and evoke a sense of wonder. Some examples of fantasy architecture include the Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand, which was built for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series; Atlantis, The Palm resort in Dubai which features a large water park, aquarium, and other attractions that are designed to evoke the lost city of Atlantis; Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, which is a modern reinterpretation of the ancient Library of Alexandria; and the Seven Magic Mountains located near Las Vegas, Nevada is a large-scale land art installation featuring colorful, stacked boulders.

Art Nouveau and Fantasy Architectute

Art Nouveau architecture, also known as Jugendstil, is a style of architecture that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is characterized by its use of asymmetrical forms, curved lines, and the incorporation of natural motifs such as flowers, leaves, and vines.

Fantasy Art Nouveau architecture refers to designs that take inspiration from the Art Nouveau style, but push the boundaries of what is possible or practical. These designs may incorporate elements of the style in unexpected or exaggerated ways, or they may use new materials or technologies to create unique and fantastical forms. Fantasy Art Nouveau architecture may also be influenced by other styles, such as Art Deco or Futurism. Some notable examples of Art Nouveau architecture include the Hotel Tassel in Brussels, the Castel Beranger in Paris, and the House of the Blackheads in Riga.

One example of a fantasy Art Nouveau architecture is the "House of the Future" design by architect Antonio Sant'Elia. This design featured a futuristic take on the Art Nouveau style, with its use of geometric shapes, curved lines, and asymmetrical forms, but it also incorporated new technology such as moving walkways, escalators, and elevators. Although the building was never built, the design was influential in the development of the Futurist architecture movement.


Art Deco and Fantasy Architecture

Art Deco is a style of architecture and design that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by its use of geometric shapes, bold colors, and the incorporation of new materials such as aluminum and stainless steel. The style was heavily influenced by the machine age and the rise of modern technology, and it was often used in the construction of skyscrapers, movie theaters, and other public buildings. Some notable examples of Art Deco architecture include the Empire State Building in New York City, the Daily Express Building in Manchester, and the Edificio Kavanagh in Buenos Aires.

The idea of inserting fantasy architectural elements and Art Deco influences playfully into the Indian milieu is an interesting concept, as it combines elements of two very different architectural styles and cultures. In this approach, Indian architectural elements such as traditional motifs, arches, and domes, and the use of traditional materials like red bricks and stone masonry could be combined with the bold geometric shapes, bold colors, and the use of new materials characteristic of Art Deco. The result would be a unique blend of traditional and modern elements that creates a playful and visually striking architectural style.

It's important to note that, while this concept of combining different architectural styles and cultures in a playful and respectful way can create interesting and visually striking buildings, it is also important to consider the cultural and historical context of the location and the surrounding community.


Antoni Gaudi and Fantasy Architecture

Antoni Gaudí was an architect from Catalonia, Spain who is known for his highly individualistic and imaginative architectural style. He is best known for his work on the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, both of which are located in Barcelona and are considered some of the most imaginative works of architecture of the 20th century.

Gaudí's style is characterized by its use of organic shapes, bright colors, and the incorporation of nature into his designs. His buildings often have a fantastical, almost surreal quality to them, with curving lines and unexpected forms that seem to defy the laws of physics. Gaudí's work has been often associated with the Art Nouveau movement, but his style also contains elements of Gothic, Mudejar, and Orientalism.

In a way, Gaudí's architecture can be seen as a form of fantasy architecture, as it explores new forms, materials, and technologies in an imaginative and often playful way. His buildings seem to be more like sculptures than traditional structures, and they often challenge the viewer's perception of what is possible in architecture. Gaudí's work is also a good example of how architecture can be used to create a sense of wonder and surprise, and how it can be used to express a unique and individual vision.

It's worth noting that Gaudí's work, while fantastical and imaginative, also took into consideration the cultural and historical context of the location and the surrounding community, being a good example of how fantasy architecture can also be respectful and meaningful to the people it serves.

Art Deco and Mumbai

Since 1933, Regal Cinema has been standing tall as the oldest proponent of Mumbai’s Art Deco legacy. At present, there are around 200 Art Deco structures in Mumbai - primarily apartment buildings, but also present are theatres, schools, bungalows, hotels, halls, clubs, and commercial buildings, second only to Miami in the world. As an architectural style, it became popular in Mumbai during the 1930s. Although still surviving, many of these buildings are now lost among the towering urban landscape. The recent decades have seen a newfound engrossment in the city’s Art Deco heritage, above and beyond architecture.


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