Heritage Meets Modernity: TARQ Gallery’s Transformation

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Project Data

Official Name of the Project: Tarq Gallery
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Client: Hena Kapadia (director of the gallery)

Design Development: 2022 April – 2022 August
Construction Period: 2022 September – 2023 March
Architects/ Designers: SquareWorks LLP
Design Team: Katsushi Goto, Komal Kotian

Website: https://www.2works.org
Contact e-mail: info@2works.org

Contractors: Nirmaan (Mainak Mushruwala, Husein Khakoo)
Gross Built up Area: 300 sq.m
Structural Consultants: Rajeev Shah and Associates (Rajeev Shah)
Lighting Design: Studio Trace (Tripti Sahni)

Photo credits: Studio Charuau (Fabien Charuau)

In the heart of Mumbai, nestled between the echoes of Victorian Gothic and the whispers of art deco architecture, TARQ Gallery stands as a testament to the seamless fusion of history and modernity. This contemporary art gallery project, masterminded by Squareworks, breathes new life into a 120-year-old building, bridging the gap between the past and the present. With a profound respect for its historical significance, TARQ Gallery emerges as a vibrant showcase of art, architecture, and cultural heritage.

Preserving Historical Significance

The restoration and transformation of this historic structure into a contemporary art gallery was a labor of love. The architects at Squareworks understood the importance of preserving the building’s rich history while injecting it with a fresh and contemporary aesthetic. Their first step was to allow abundant natural light to flood the gallery by restoring the original openings within the thick brick masonry structure.

Embracing Structural Elements

One striking feature of TARQ Gallery is its towering 14-foot-high ceilings, accentuated by the underlying steel columns and beams. Instead of concealing these structural elements, the architects celebrated them by highlighting the columns with wood filler. This design choice not only pays homage to the building’s heritage but also creates a visually captivating manifestation of its structural strength.

Custom Craftsmanship and Bespoke Details

TARQ Gallery demanded a high degree of custom carpentry and fabrication, ensuring that every detail was crafted exclusively for the project. This approach allowed for a cohesive design language, moving away from mass-produced products. It’s this meticulous attention to site-specific details that elevates TARQ Gallery into a space of unparalleled uniqueness, where every corner tells a story.

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Corten Steel Wall: A Tribute and Brand Identity

A standout feature that emerged during the design process was the inclusion of a Corten steel wall. This dual-purpose addition pays homage to the building’s historical heritage while incorporating TARQ’s signature crimson red, a nod to its brand identity. This Corten steel masterpiece not only adds bold materiality but also lends a textured aesthetic that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

Preservation and Transformation

Respecting the values of the heritage building was paramount during the restoration process. The restoration efforts included preserving the original wooden windows on the north part of the facade, skillfully handled by talented carpenters. On the west facade, where no evidence of original window frames existed, new window frames and shutters with central axial hinges were installed. This meticulous work not only respected the architectural legacy but also enhanced visibility both inside and outside the gallery space.

Exposing the Steel Beams

A bold design decision was made to expose the steel beams instead of concealing them behind false ceilings. These structural elements stand proudly, symbolizing the coexistence of different eras and systems. This choice serves as a testament to the historical significance of the building and offers a visual representation of its integration within the overall design narrative.

Conclusion: A Harmonious Coexistence

In the end, TARQ Gallery stands as a shining example of deep respect and appreciation for the heritage of the old building. By seamlessly fusing modern elements, optimizing natural light, and employing custom carpentry and fabrication, the space has been transformed into a contemporary art gallery that eloquently reconciles the past with the present. The incorporation of the Corten steel tile wall not only honors TARQ’s brand identity but also celebrates the building’s historical legacy. With meticulous attention to detail and the preservation of intrinsic values, TARQ Gallery is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of history and modernity.

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