Art and eating out at Ballard Estate

'IF.BE' houses exhibition spaces, a library and reading room, a restaurant, a cafe and a performance venue, designed to be a venue for experimental art and architecture and well, healthy eating

Art and eating out at Ballard Estate


Architect Kamal Malik explains the intriguing acronym IF.BE by pointing out that it comprises two independent words. 'IF' [suggestive of endless possibilities and a sense of wonder] and 'BE' [a counterweight that provides balance and (re) solutions]. “

IF.BE represents a platform where existing behaviours and perceptions are challenged, where open dialogue moves from the currently trending to the truly relevant, where pluralism, self-expression and innovation abound, where architecture, design and the arts finally move beyond their own aesthetically bound definition to becoming instruments that drive holistic and enduring change," he adds.

'IF.BE' recently launched their new experimental architecture and art space in a re-fashioned and conserved Ice Factory.

Situated in Mumbai's oldest dockyards in Ballard Estate, 'IF.BE' has been revamped into a space that blends its past and the future and houses exhibition spaces, a library, a restaurant, a cafe and a performance venue.

It has been launched with a two-week exhibition titled 'Refraction: The (Re) Making of the Ice Factory', curated by Arjun Malik and Parul Thacker, which features the past and present architecture of the Ice Factory.

Partners Kamal Malik, Abhijit Mehta and Amardeep Tony Singh hope that this initiative will enable them to preserve Ballard Estate's industrial heritage by offering glimpses of the building's past, be it the ice freezing apparatus preserved under glass at the entrance or maintaining the building's functioning overhead crane. 'IF.BE', designed by architects Arjun and Kamal Malik, will be made up of five spaces.

'The Substation' will be used as a reading room for art, architecture and design material; 'The Cathedral' will function as an exhibition space; 'The Banyan Tree Cafe' situated under the shade of an ancient banyan tree is an all-day cafe committed to wholesome and healthy eating.

'Native Bombay', a restaurant and bar, will offer a contemporary spin on regional Indian cuisine; and 'The Ice Factory' will be a performance venue which will be used for architecture-led exhibitions, film screenings and performances to conferences, workshops and private events.

IF.BE has been designed to be fluid so the spaces can be easily reconfigured depending on the nature of the event or performance.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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