The Bonjour India Experience

The Bonjour India Experience, India Gate (New Delhi), Cross Maidan Garden (Mumbai), Salt Lake Central Park (Kolkata)
Architect: SpaceMatters

Citation Note:

Travelling exhibitions are exciting design opportunities for architects to create pop-up spatial experiments to solicit varied audiences. The Bonjour India Experience designed by SpaceMatters is a simple, elegant construct – an expressive space that serves as both – the generator of activity and the backdrop to the same. Dynamic and fluid, the outer swirling form conceals a clever deconstructed box, which houses the core content of the exhibition.

In a semblance of movement, the architects play with opposites – translucency and opacity, fluidity and rigidity, movement and stillness, softness and hardness to create a structure in fine equilibrium. The plan is a thoughtful resolution of this play and the deconstructed box lends the curators the appropriate wall-space. The geometry is choreographed to completely encapsulate the box within the translucent form.

The space works in duality – in light and in darkness. In light, the space becomes opaque, impermeable and sits as an uncanny object in the landscape. In darkness, the space permeates light beyond the skin enforcing its presence in the landscape. Being a pop-up gallery, the design is mindful of the ease of assembly and dismantling processes. The plan, being a-directional, encourages surprise encounters and discoveries within the space.

Exhibitions, biennales, galleries and trade-shows present a unique opportunity for architects to engage with temporary, light structures designed for a limited life. The flexible, playful and luminous architecture of The Bonjour India Pavilion by SpaceMatters exploits this opportunity through a project that is a fine balance of a contradictory idea yet achieving the core purpose of the exhibition and therefore, this project is a citation project in The Merit List.

Photographs by Hemant Chawla, Achint Jain, Nishita Mohta, Suditya Sinha