city in type

dhal ni pol,

'The City in Type' is a reflection of Ahmedabad’s identity through patterns derived from the signages and familiar sights of the famed old city.
Using familiar signages from the old city, the intervention imparts a new meaning to the otherwise neglected space, enabling the possibility of creating new experiences and relationships. These signages engage the viewers’ own experiences and re-kindle their memory of the city.
Design and concept: Netra Ajjampur, Abhishek Durani, Nusaibah Khan
Hand lettering: Painter Chamunda Arts
Volunteers: Shamanth, Pranjal, Divya, Agrima, Kairav, Rishabh, Tushant, Urjani, Neer, Dhanshree, Zinkal, Janvi, Janki, Swati,
Documentation: Stavan Bhagora, Karan Gajjar, Dhrumil Desai, Vidhi Bhow
heritage festival
Initiative: Local x Society
Implementation: Drystva
Sponsor: Brihati Foundation
Curator: Benjamin Gonthier
the space
In any given urban setting, no object is experienced individually, but always in relation to its surroundings, through memories associated with it, with traces of concerns and perceptions. We are rarely mere spectators of this phenomenon, and are rather a part of the complex dynamic. The collective memory and mental image retained in one’s mind is formed of the city’s visual quality, which comes from one’s ability to recognise and organise familiar visuals into a legible ‘pattern’.
the transformation
What was once a dilapidated storage and parking space, is now a place for the community with the possibility of growing and attracting activities - a multi-use destination.
The location of the intervention and the redefinition of its relationship with the existing environment has provided the us with the opportunity of forging a new urban identity and cultural meaning of this place, and has successfully encouraged a sense of belonging and a source of pride within the community.
the experience
It is most touching to see people reminiscing their childhood in these spaces. These residents of the Dhal ni Pol were delighted to see colour and liveliness being brought about through this spatial transformation.
They were an important part of the process being the users of the place, who articulated what they valued about it and assisted us in understanding its complexity.
the process
If you’d look carefully at our sketches/notes from our brainstorming sessions, we talk about ‘the scooters being an interactive element’, ‘YOU are the life to our installation’, ‘all the signages of the old city of Ahmedabad’, ‘The blue strip spiralling out of the entrance as a representation of a trace’, ‘Kevin Lynch—Image of the city’.

Being brought up in a world like this our brains store our surroundings-especially signages and storefronts, and these act as landmarks to our memories of our environment. Given how deeply these glimpses are engraved into our minds, it is a great feeling when our memories from within our subconscious are unlocked in a flamboyant fashion like this. It brings out feelings of nostalgia, pride, and excitement.
the people
This installation would not have been possible without the timely and able assistance of our volunteer team who took time out to help us out with the painting, cleaning, scrubbing, shopping, coordinating and accomplishing the Herculian task of putting together 'The City in Type' in two days (TWO DAYS!, and nights). The residents and little children from the Pol too, gave us invaluable company with their timely snacks, refreshments and delightful stories of the place and their lives in the Pol.
“The architecture of styles and signs is anti-spatial; it is an architecture of communication over space. The philosophical associations of the old eclecticism evoked subtle and complex meanings to be savoured in the docile spaces of traditional landscape”
-Alan Colquhoun in ‘Typology and Design Method’