Wonderland- A Collage of Colonialism, Capitalism and Nostalgia in Bangalore’s CBD
Author name: Namrata Dewanjee
LinkedIn: Namrata Dewanjee (www.linkedin.com/in/namratadewanjee)
Church Street is a paranoid body. Colonialism is a wound which festers. Or, was that capitalism? Eh, same thing.
This project was developed as a part of a studio that focused on creating a face of the city as well as a learning space in Bangalore’s central business district. It was to be an offering to the city- but inevitably, it also has to address the layers of history (or the hollow foundation) of this place.
All meaningful human interaction will happen (is already happening) digitally in the near future. The real world is only a theatrical space- a space to react to and record content and run back to the digital space to broadcast the collage of our experience.
Bangalore is an Indian city that is shaped by British occupation. Colonial architecture has deeply (or superficially) impacted almost every city it has touched. The urn balusters and out-of-context neo-Classical columns have plagued the imagery of these cities for decades now. If there is something more entrepreneurial than colonialism, it is social media. The colors and square-aesthetics of the digital space where learning happens should directly influence the physical space.
Instagram pink and the Instagram grid are Corinthian capital’s only worthy opponent.
The learning space is meaningless unless it too luxuriates in its setting and uselessness. Education, after all, benefits from commodification.
Church Street is a wonderland- signage, retail, a Las Vegas right in the heart of a city that keeps growing like crabgrass. The intervention, therefore, rightly annexes the surrounding buildings- a promise to increase commerce- the only promise that has ever mattered here. Church Street is a paranoid body.
The project uses colonial motifs and the tartan grid of the setback regulations that have shaped the city to make its impact. Along with that, it uses references from the immediate context like the 13th floor restaurant (the most expensive restaurant on the highest building in the skyline) and recreates the 6.5th floor café emphasizing the myopic and elitist view of what is “important enough” to be Bangalore.
But the project comes alive in a simple gesture- the inverted Ionic capital.
When the capital becomes seating
When the motif of colonialism serves the colonized
capitalism is the great equalizer
Or, is Capitalism the new colonizer?
-But, at its worst it is utilitarian.