Design is never far away from any visit to India’s biggest city. So if you’re looking to discover the wealth of design in Mumbai, look no further than our Mumbai Design Guide. Mumbai (formerly Bombay) has a cityscape that blends Gothic Revival, Indo-Saracenic, and Art Deco with more than 1,000 contemporary glass and steel towers befitting India’s financial hub.
Architectural wonders include the waterfront Gateway of India, and the second-largest number of art deco structures in the world. Mumbai’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites also celebrate its long design heritage. As well as its art deco buildings, the ancient Elephanta Caves and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station have both been recognized. No wonder we created a Mumbai design guide! Want to know more about Indian culture? Then there’s our India culture guide too.
Running along the coast for almost four kilometers in the Fort area of Mumbai is Marine Drive. It sits at the focal point of the city’s art deco ornamentation. Located on the eastern side of the Oval Maidan’s Neogothic structures, it runs south from the always busy Chowpatty Beach.
Many of its buildings are private residences, the earliest of which dates from the late 1930s. The former Eros Cinema meanwhile is one of the city’s best examples of Streamline Moderne design. In between them lie private sports clubs. One of the best ways of exploring Marine Drive is therefore with our Gothic & Art Deco Story Tour of Mumbai.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, Fort, Mumbai
Jehangir Art Gallery
A short distance from Marine Drive you’ll find Jehangir Art Gallery, first opened in 1952. Its beautiful low-level structure, richly clad in polished stone, frames a wonderful collection of contemporary Indian artworks. Covering everything from weaving to photography, the city’s design heritage is easy to uncover here. Next door you’ll also find the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya history museum. If you can’t find it, ask for the Prince of Wales Museum, it’s old name.
161B, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai
Don’t be fooled by the casual ambience that emanates from White Peacock in the Khar suburb of Mumbai. Here diners can enjoy some seriously good cuisine. This includes local seafood, as well as menus from northern India and the relaxed beaches of Goa. At the same time, diners are able to take in its dazzling monochrome interior. This is cleverly softened by the addition of natural wood features by designer Venus Ferreira. The result is a feeling of a trendy mid-century cocktail bar brought right up to date.
5th Road, Ground Floor Jewel Palace, Khar West, Mumbai
Offering up dishes not just from India but from right across Asia, Ostaad is a perennial favorite with Mumbai’s Bollywood set. While it may be a little blingy for some on first appearance (since black and gold predominate), look deeper and you’ll find subtle homages to India’s Islamic heritage. The main dining space is large enough for the drama not to be overbearing, which is a skillful thing for designers Zara Eisa and Rohan Poojara to have achieved. Ostaad also offers a separate bar menu for lighter bites, and a dedicated vegetarian kitchen to prevent cross contamination.
Unit number 2, Ground floor, Trade tower B, Kamala City, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Epitomising the full grandeur of the British Raj, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel sits just meters from the Gateway of India. Almost overwhelming in its Indo-Saracenic style, it has been the choice of presidents and celebrities since it first opened in 1903. An icon of heritage and a byword for luxury, guests are outnumbered by staff by at least 2:1. Its elegant selection of rooms have been fully-renovated, and offer views of the sea or expansive pool. No Mumbai design guide lover could ever resist a peek.
Apollo Bunder, Colaba, 400001 Mumbai
The Oberoi Mumbai
It may not be able to match the Taj Mahal Palace when it comes to heritage, but The Oberoi Mumbai certainly gives it a run for its money when it comes to well-thought-out design. For instance, both public and private spaces are flooded with natural light thanks to large picture windows. Its crisp clean lines are made more homely with decorative murals and original artworks, while soft furnishings ensure The Oberoi is as comfortable as it is delightful to look out. And if that wasn’t enough, this elegant modern block also has a champagne lounge and houses the Ziya Restaurant – one of just a handful in Mumbai to be awarded with a Michelin star.
But if neither of these hotels are your perfect fit, you should check out our full list of hotels in Mumbai. True design lovers might also want to explore the most beautifully designed hotels in India, if only to admire these extraordinary spaces.
Marine Drive, Nariman Point, 400021 Mumbai
Design Artifacts Haven
Taking the idea of a traditional Indian bazaar to new heights is Design Artifacts Haven. This magically-curated collection of objet d’art has been gathered from the best designers on the planet. Nomon clocks sit beside pieces by Artisan House, allowing you to explore some of the world’s finest design trends in tranquil surroundings.
Antop Hill Warehousing Complex, Antop Hill, Mumbai
A one-stop shop for great design, Freedom Tree has a couple of stores within the Mumbai city limits, including in Bandra. It would be easy to slip a quick visit into the schedule of our 6 Day Ajanta, Ellora & Lonar Meteor Mystery Tour from Mumbai.
The big danger in paying a visit to this bright and welcoming store is that your luggage is never going to be large enough to take everything home. But there are more than enough luggage-friendly pieces to choose between. Each and every one of them is vibrant and somehow very ‘Mumbai’. So forget about those usual trinkets that act as souvenirs and opt for something you’re going to treasure for years to come instead.
Bandra Breeze, Plot no. 57/A, 23rd-28th Road, off Turner Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai
Mastering Magical Mumbai
While Mumbai might not be the first destination you think of when it comes to design, it should be clear from our Mumbai Design Guide just how much the city offers those interested in aesthetics. But should you need more convincing, be sure to consider heading out on our Ancient Buddhist Univeristy of Kanheri Tour. It’s one of several tours in Mumbai, along with our Karla & Bhaja Caves Tour, that combines heritage with design.