The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has commenced work on the Rs 200-crore textile museum project to spin Mumbai’s erstwhile mill culture back to life.
The museum, to be equipped to hold fashion shows, will come up on a 44,000 sq metre land belonging to erstwhile India United Mills number 2 and 3 in Byculla and will house a sub-centre of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, said BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner (Western suburbs) Ashwini Joshi. A letter for setting up the NIFT sub-centre has already been submitted by the BMC to NIFT.
“Our effort is to engage state emporiums and fashion designers on the lines of Delhi Haat, in New Delhi. Our mandate is to maintain 60 per cent green cover and use the other 40 per cent for new creation. We will also be restoring the existing structure,” Joshi said.
The work for the project has been divided into two phases —while the first phase is expected to be complete by 2021, tender for the second phase of the project was submitted on January 28.
According to officials, work to clean a pond on the project site has been completed, while work on landscaping for the recreation space and kiosks will commence soon after the civic body’s Tree Authority gives a nod for translocating trees from the area.
In a first, JJ School of Architecture’s principal Rajiv Mishra said, laser cleaning contractors are also being being hired to clean the writings and graffiti on the two-storey Indu Mills structure in which the museum will be housed. The project will be completed by the JJ School of Architecture.
As per the plan submitted by the institute, in the first phase a multipurpose outdoor area, light and sound show (on the pond), an open amphitheatre, a designer open space for visitors, a compound wall and an area for sculptures will be completed. Museum galleries, administrative office, canteen, shopping area, workshop space, café, library, conservation lab and auditorium among others will come up in the second phase.
“We wanted the citizens of Mumbai to know their historical past. And the way to do it is by way of restoring one whole textile mill — the two-storey Indu Mills — to give them a glimpse of how it functioned during that period of time. The then Bombay city prospered due to the development of its ports and textile export business. Hard work needs to be put in to protect the existing structure before it collapses,” he said.
Trying to depict the way the old textile mills used to function and how they evolved over the years will be the main focus of the museum, he said. A surrounding chawl will also be renovated under the project.