Serving to a star to shine: Meet the girl who lit up Mumbai’s Rajabai clock tower

Serving to a star to shine: Meet the girl who lit up Mumbai’s Rajabai clock tower


Lighting permits a construction to speak with folks, says Kanchan Puri. Performed proper, it could possibly transport a customer by time, as with the sound and lightweight reveals on the pyramids of Giza or the sprawling royal forts of Rajasthan.

When Puri’s firm, KSA, was approached to design the lighting for Mumbai’s 142-year-old Rajabai clock tower and College library constructing, she knew it will be one of many agency’s most high-profile and difficult initiatives but.

Over twenty years, KSA has designed the lighting for the two,000-year-old Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, a Unesco world heritage web site; for Jawaharlal Nehru’s one-time residence, Teen Murti Bhavan, in Delhi; and for the Asiatic Library in Mumbai, amongst different heritage and industrial buildings.

However the Rajabai tower is totally different — it’s a heritage gem within the midst a bustling metropolis, seen for miles away, its façade an intricate assortment of niches, arches and curves.

“The thought was to not mild it up and make it into some form of a Disneyland with all the colors underneath the solar,” says Brinda Somaya, the conservation architect appointed for the complete restoration challenge. “It needed to be a sublime present of architectural high quality because it’s a beacon for the town and all beacons should be lit to inform a narrative. The architectural high quality of the tower and the library needed to present up.”

Over twenty years, Kanchan Puri’s firm KSA has designed lighting for the two,000-year-old Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad; Jawaharlal Nehru’s one-time residence, Teen Murti Bhavan, in Delhi; and the Asiatic Library in Mumbai, amongst different heritage and industrial buildings.

So, in 2017, KSA was introduced on. After an interruption to work attributable to the pandemic, the lighting is sort of all executed and the challenge might be full by the tip of the month.

With the clock tower, “we’re going for a refined revelation relatively than a dramatic impact, with layers that vary from the refined to the celebratory,” Puri says. “The gallery on the prime of the primary stage is fastidiously sculpted with mild. In these cases, the surface faces are stored comparatively darkish, making a lantern impact. Above the primary gallery are niches during which are stone figures representing the totally different races and costumes of western India. These sculptures have been backlit with a gentle mild, exposing the figures in silhouette. The play of sunshine and shadow could be very pronounced at this stage.”

The torso of the Tower is the dynamic piece of the jewel. The facade is replete with intricate detailing and the intricate nature of the lighting right here makes an attempt to have a good time that.

The slender columns are uplit. The arches are soaked in mild. The galleries at numerous ranges are illuminated in a dramatic model to set off the distinctive structure, with its influences drawn from Victorian Gothic and Islamic types.

Puri studied on the JJ faculty of structure in Mumbai after which received a Masters in constructing sciences and lighting design from the College of Southern California in Los Angeles. For inspiration, she seems to be to the work of the long-lasting Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, the person finest identified in India for designing the deliberate metropolis of Chandigarh within the Fifties and ’60s.

“His Notre-Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp, France, is likely one of the most inspirational areas, chasing how mild seeps into the area,” Puri says.

The lighting of the Rajabai clock itself was an infinite problem, Puri provides. “That is the plain beacon one would search for.” Seven mock-ups have been created to confirm the angles, depth, color rendering and fixture spacings. And so it stands now, bathed in a gentle gold that gleams for miles, each element seemingly illuminated.

“A technique of figuring out along with your metropolis is thru its structure,” Somaya says. “The clock tower is a lightweight of hope. There’s some speak of opening it up for the general public. I hope as soon as the federal government sees its magnificence after restoration and lighting, that would be the subsequent step.”



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