A view of the beautification work and lighting around Bharat Mandapam convention centre of Pragati Maidan ahead of G20 Summit, in New Delhi, India, on August 27, 2023. (ANI Photo/Ishant)
BHARAT Mandapam, the venue of the G20 summit scheduled for September, is designed as a window to India, displaying the country’s rich heritage and cultural diversity to the world.
Located in the heart of the national capital Delhi, the state-of-the-art international convention-cum-exhibition centre embraces the fluidity of river Yamuna, which flows through the city, in its elliptical design devoid of any sharp edges — a theme that also reflects in the pavilions and the galleries.
“Hundreds of years back, the Yamuna flowed through this site. If you look at the convention centre, we have created it in very fluid lines. Fluidity is the nature of water. Similarly, the convention centre does not have any sharp edges. It is elliptical, there are two ramps which come down,” Sanjay Singh, director, Arcop Associates, and the architect of the project, told the PTI.
“If you look at the podium, there are these structures that are rising up which are the retreat lounge on one side and the tea house on the other side. Metaphorically or conceptually these are waves of water. That is what was driving the form,” he said.
In an interview to PTI, Singh said he had received a single-line brief from prime minister Narendra Modi — the convention centre should be an iconic landmark and a modern building connected to the Indian roots.
The Bharat Mandapam at the Pragati Maidan site also abuts Lutyens’ Delhi and also has a ‘Window to Delhi’ at the highest level which looks out to the Kartavya Path, the India Gate and the canopies of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
“The Window to Delhi is a physical window and also a window to India, wherein we are introducing in the fabric of the building the arts, culture, heritage of the country,” Singh said.
The architects decided to raise the height of the Plenary Hall to create the ‘Window to Delhi’ which also made room for a 3,000-seater amphitheatre protected from the sun and the rain. Singh said the only message he was trying to convey as a designer is the cultural richness of of the country.
The Bharat Mandapam has carpets from Kashmir and Bhadohi (Uttar Pradesh), artworks from across the country themed around peacock, the national bird.
“There are also some finely hand-knit carpets from Kashmir. That is why it is at the Centre of the G20 summit hall. The outer carpet is from Bhadohi that shows the prowess and expertise of the people in Bhadohi. The printed carpets have come from down South,” Singh said.
The ‘Zero to ISRO’ artwork comprises seven monolithic discs mounted on a wall made of wooden 3D triangles and showcases the progress the country has made since ancient times to the present.
The architects visited convention centres in Germany and China to get an understanding of functional requirements of the project of such a large scale.