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AWA Lighting Designers light the Ismail Building, Mumbai

The project is located in the Flora Fountain area of Fort, Mumbai. The 111-year old Edwardian Neo-Classical building was once owned by the Ismail Yusuf Trust, and formerly housed banks and offices. The building now houses the retail giant Zara, and is Zara’s largest store in India, covering five floors and a total of 51,300 sq ft.


AWA developed a lighting design that balances conservation concerns related to the heritage facade, with clear aesthetic goals. We developed a lighting design solution where poetic romanticism goes hand in hand with practicality- where function meets the emotional characteristics of this Neo-Classical building, and the details are highlighted and subtly integrated. This was achieved by seamlessly integrating the lighting hardware into the historical architecture of the facade to maximize the visual impact at night,while minimizing any visible hardware during the day.

We endeavored to bring back the grandeur of the structure by highlighting Neo-Classical identities and geometric forms that run throughout the facade. The elements of the building, such as the columns and the cornices, are all lit like individual actors on stage playing to a poignant script. We utilized the properties of contrast to highlight the actors of this heritage building. Each floor has been treated with different fixtures for different elements, and they have been composed together to achieve a harmonious balance.

To ensure the project was installed per specifications, AWA developed a series of stringent lighting installation guidelines for the local context. These guidelines outlined how to mount the lights on the heritage building, the wiring, location of drivers and the correct fixture wattage, lenses , and exact mounting angles required on each level. AWA tested the guidelines with various mock-ups to ensure each level met design goals before final installation began. As the final step, AWA was on site with the construction team during the final installation working to ensure the guidelines we followed and the design met the clients goals.

We are thankful to our client Arif Fazlani for his support and faith. Our sincere vote of appreciation to Kirtida Unwalla and Mona Sanghvi and the construction team.

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