• 03.09.16

See Photos Of The First Design Museum Built Inside A Slum

An urban slum in Mumbai–home to a million people–is bursting with the kind of creativity and skill that comes from necessity.

For two months, a tiny museum on wheels is rolling through the narrow, unnamed streets of Dharavi, a Mumbai slum home to a million people. The message: the intensely creative people who live there–who built much of the neighborhood from scratch–should be recognized as skilled designers.


When the first exhibit opened in February, it drew visitors from India Design Forum, the elite of the local design world, who probably never would have visited Dharavi in the past. Handmade brooms–traditionally considered a lower-caste product–were declared museum-worthy and displayed next to brightly painted pottery. The next exhibit featured cricket bats and uniforms, and the displays will keep changing as the mobile museum travels through the neighborhood.

“We believe that from a creative point of view Dharavi has an outstanding potential,” say Jorge Mañes Rubio, Amanda Pinatih, Matias Echanove, and Rahul Srivastava, the artists behind the project. “We want to create the platform that will allow this potential to be fully developed in a sustainable way, a situation where its inhabitants are fully aware of it. On a larger scale, our main objective is also to change the way in which the rest of the city looks down to Dharavi.”

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.