As soon as you enter T2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, which opens to the public on February 12, it is the scale that astounds you. The terminal in Mumbai’s Andheri East is massive at 4.3 million sq ft, and is beautifully designed with peacock-inspired ceilings and columns, made to cater to 40 million passengers. But what sets T2 apart from other public service projects, and most airports across the world, is the attention they have paid to the arts.
Spread over three km, the ‘Jaya He’ art walk is the metaphorical centrepiece of this majestic new structure. Visible from all four levels, the art is spread across an area of over 80,000 sq ft on walls. It features mostly Indian artists, including works by a few international artists. Rajeev Sethi, Chairman & Founder Trustee, The Asian Heritage Foundation, and his design team were given charge of this project. The work is being put up in two phases and about 75 per cent of phase one is complete right now. Most of the art works are on the west wall, which can be seen after one moves through immigration.
Many of the art works are collaborations. Like the water installation as part of the Panch Mahabhuta series, which is interactive and allows you to play music by hitting different spouts of water on the installation. It is conceived by director Shekhar Kapur, designed by Sethi and produced by several artists.
A defunct hangar is where the design team puts together the different installations to see how they will look. These will then be dismantled and assembled again at the airport. It took the team over a year to collect the 1,000 pieces of the work that are being and will be used — these include artist commissions and the various antiques they sourced from across the country. Windows, grilles, jharokas, doors, stone idols, giant wooden archways among other antiques have been used to create installations.
The works also have a Complex Asset Resource Management, a system which gives the provenance, date, condition of each object and other data to anyone who wants to know more about the art work — all they have to do is point their phone to the signages of the art work. The system is not online right now, but will be once it opens to the public.