In the Summer of 2015, our architectural studio, Design Variable, undertook a workshop with six architecture students, aiming to understand Mumbai through the lens of “People's story”. After all, what makes a city is the people- with their desires, conflicts, negotiations and so on. This little workshop ambitiously expanded and culminated as ‘People Called Mumbai’- 55 narratives and 10 writers. This process laid the foundation of the ‘People Place Project’, as we set out to explore other cities through the lens of Narrative Mapping and using Publication as tool of Place-making. Our intent has furthered to create more diverse texts to enrich our understandings about the cities and places we inhabit...
The official launch of People Place Mumbai in 2016 took place at Hive, Bandra as the place held a significant story in the book. It marked the beginning of more ventures and we aimed at covering all the prime cities of India through narrative mapping.
The beginning of 2017 was flagged with our second major curatorial narrative- People Called Ahmedabad, by Nisha Nair-Gupta. A kids’ edition of People Called Mumbai, was penned down by writer Vinitha Ramchandani and was released and published by FunOkPlease in October 2017. It was a exciting year that ended with the release of People Called Shillong in November 2017 with the support of Meghalaya Tourism, Northeast Today and Maharaja of Tripura. We entered the world of books with a number of book readings at literary fests’, open mics at cafes, workshops for kids, treasure hunts and so on.
"With a format of narrative mapping to look at the city and a batch of stories in hand, we set out with an ambition to write more and thus, discover the city..."
2017 was also special because Penguin Random House, India came on board as our sales and distribution partner. 2018 onward, we further went on to collaborate with other cities for curating our flagship- PEOPLE CALLED series. And so in the making we have-
People Called Kolkata by Kamalika Bose, the founder Heritage Synergies, supported by the Birla Sanskriti Trust
People Called Lucknow will be curated by Siddhant Shrivastav and Jyotsna Kaur Habibullah.
People Called Delhi- which is being curated by online web portal FirstPost. (to be released 2020)
People Called Bengaluru by Shristi Institute of Art Design and Technology (to be released 2020)
People Called Kochi by Vinitha (to be released 2020)
People Called Chennai by Madras Inherited(to be released 2020)
People Called Goa by Matter (to be released 2020).
"A tireless journey with millions of stories; People Called series aims to cover all aspects of city consciousness through its interactive mapping..."
In 2019, we launched two new series. The Heritage handbook in collaboration with MMR-HCS (Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Heritage Conservation Society) for creating popular literature of the city's’ heritage. The first is the Mumbai Fort series.
We have also launched the City Mosaic series for Children, the first picture book being Lost and Found in a Koliwada by Vinitha and Kripa
Along with publications, we have now beginning engagement and outreach for capacity building and increasing awareness towards Place-making.
Also, we have been consulting publication designers as well as editorial and writing for books on Architecture and Urban Issues. The MMR-HCS Heritage Circuit Maps, Songs of Soil (BVCOA) and Treasure at the Terminus, for Central Railway are few such projects that we enjoyed.
Three years since the inception of our first series; we have broadened our horizon to look into different ways people can be aware of their city and its history.
And so we constantly are striving to embark on more such ventures and we appreciate all kinds of support towards our place-making goal...