Over the years I have been lucky enough to spend hours wandering through many vehicle brand museums, and to varying degrees, they tell a story of their past, present and future with the use of their vehicles – which makes perfect sense right? However, Mahindra’s ‘Museum of Living History’ is anything but the norm.
In fact, the strategy nestled at the foot of Mahindra Towers, Worli, Mumbai, Museum, essentially laughs at the thought of using cars to tell their 75+ year history, opting instead for numerous objects of interactive art.
The brainchild of Anand Mahindra, Mahindra Group Chairman and Prochie Mukherji, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Senior VP and Chief of Staff, the 4,000-square-foot gallery was designed by Elsie Nanji and architect Harsh Manrao and crafted to resemble the shape of a Nautilus shell. Why a Nautilus shell? I hear you ask, well just like said shell, Mahindra as an organisation is consistently growing in scale – obviously.
Anywho, the entrance is an ‘interspace’ corridor that’s ablaze with red and this leads you down to the first objet d’art, a giant hourglass that informs you that time waits for no one. However, the circular frame of the hourglass can be turned upside down should you wish to control time.
Continue on into the gallery and a treat awaits you around every corner, and although they may not on the face of it have much to do with Mahindra (past, present and future), open your mind, dig a little deeper (or simply read the signs) and you begin to understand what’s going on.
For example, the object that looks a bit like a puffa fish (designed by Alijan Shaikh) depicts Mahindra’s openness to diversity.
The case filled with momentos, (created by Sara Lovari) is about ‘Putting Others First’, and pays tribute to the bravery of a Mahindra employee who lost his life saving a couple from drowning.
The hovercraft surrounded by the city (yes it’s buildings), signifies learning from failure – Mahindra’s hovercraft venture didn’t float.
I think you get the point.
There are vehicles in the gallery though, however, they are more interpretive than ride-ons. There is a figurine of a tractor, a mirror style half car that appears as you stand, (created by Shahrukh Irani as an interpretation of the Pininfarina Battista EV), a Mahindra racing car with parts coming out of it like a hedgehog and for those that like to race, there is a Formula-E simulator to tackle – good luck squeezing in.
There are numerous other exhibits, including a light cube that you walk through its lasers, and a small amphitheater to learn more about that brand and its vision, but the final piece is a small glass circle that says ‘Multiverse’ with ‘anything is possible’ underneath – and I guess that sums Mahindra up.
Like I said at the beginning, Mahindra’s ‘Museum of Living History’ is anything but the norm, and those looking for some CJ3’s or a 575 Di you’re out of luck, BUT, if you’re willing to use a little imagination, it’s actually a rather cool experience.