My interest lies primarily in doing what I do, with care. As an architect, the way you imagine opening a door, developing a chair, designing the texture of a wall or a floor, is very important. It’s about quality, about the consideration you apply to the making of something. And it’s about being attentive to the environment, the materials, and the inhabitants. It has to be inclusive.
The Indian architectural practice Studio Mumbai, founded by Bijoy Jain in 2005, has developed a body of work that continues to reference aspects of both Indian and Western cultures. What sets the studio apart is a brilliant combination of tradition and modernity. Local resources and Indian craftsmanship form the basis for highly contemporary architectural designs. Thoughtful and uncompromising to the last detail, the architecture of Studio Mumbai shows a deep concern for the relationship between man and nature and insists on the importance of the genius loci.
After graduating from Washington University in Saint Louis, USA, Bijoy Jain worked with Richard Meier before returning to India to found his own practice. In 2005, ‘Bijoy Jain & Associates’ became ‘Studio Mumbai’ – with a new production model in which a small team, including a carpenter and a stonemason, takes charge of both design and construction. Studio Mumbai has its head office at Alibag, two hours’ drive from the city centre, in an area that is still partly rural. As the firm is continuing to expand, it recently opened a second studio, Saath Rasta, in the very heart of the city.
While the majority of Studio Mumbai’s projects are houses located around India, a number of their projects have achieved international renown. Bijoy Jain gained worldwide recognition with the installation ‘Work-Place’ at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, offering an insight into the firm’s unique process of learning through making. Another important presentation that enhanced the studio’s reputation was the installation ‘Inbetween Architecture’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, drawing inspiration from parasitic architecture that emerges between existing buildings in high-density urban centres like Mumbai. Today, Studio Mumbai is constructing buildings in several countries, working only with clients who accept its conditions: taking the time it needs and working with a team of local artisans. Bijoy Jain is currently working on a weaving workshop in India, close to the Himalayas, on the Onomichi Community Centre in Japan and a hotel wellness centre in France.
Bijoy Jain’s work has been shown at many venues, including the Alvar Alto Symposium, the Architectural League of New York and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which holds several of his project archives. In May 2015 a major monographic exhibition entitled ‘Between the Sun and the Moon’ opened at Bordeaux’s Arc en Rêve, Centre d’Architecture. The exhibition focuses on the work processes of Studio Mumbai, and explores the recurring themes that inform Bijoy Jain’s oeuvre. The exhibition has now moved to the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen where it can be visited until March 2016.
Studio Mumbai has been selected to design the 2016 edition of Melbourne’s MPavilion, an annual commission touted as Australia’s answer to London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, and will present work at this years’ Venice Architecture Biennale.
The studio has received several awards, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture from the Institut Français d’Architecture (IFA) in 2009 and the BSI Swiss Architectural Award in 2012.