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Retail Therapy | December 2014

Performing monotones

Studio Osmosis creates luxurious interiors for a designer wear store in Benaras. The result is both arresting and inspiring.

If the location is a luxury fashion store in Benaras and the object of retail is designer Indian wear, words like opulent and elegant are bound to pop up in one´s mind. Fashion designer Gazal Agarwal´s boutique Panache has just such an air about it. The brief for this project came to Architects Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally, Principal Architects, of Studio Osmosis in a true fashion jargon. Agarwal wanted the newest Panache store to be the showstopper amongst all her stores as well as other outlets in the vicinity. The new Panache had to be bold, unique and a go-to fashion destination in Benaras.

Fashioning a design
¨The idea was to entwine the Benarasi tradition with a contemporary style. Art deco elements inspired from the Benarasi weave accomplish a marriage of contemporariness and Indian rootedness in this high-end space,¨ say the architects. The design follows an open plan with twists in space that lead to focal elements and unique spatial arrangements. ¨The local tradition of patterns has been merged using sleek edges; bold and monochromatic colour palette of black, white and gold; and the use of stainless steel installations from ceiling,¨ elaborate the architects. The colour scheme of black, white and gold is used to create a bold imagery but remains unobtrusive.

Designing the details
The interiors are infused with the luxury element while remaining true to the exclusivity of the Panache brand. And that´s where the carefully selected materials come into play. The architects explain, ¨The central display is custom-designed with just one striking ceiling-hung, singular chrome-plated multiple steel tube installation designed at varying heights and levels to suit different clothing types.¨

Another important aspect was demarcating the different zones in the store. Panache offers its customers both prOt and couture Indian designer wear. Moreover, there was a requirement for an exclusive bridal couture zone. The architects said, ¨Latticed screens add to the display and zoning options, while customised units enhance the choice of display. The continuous black mirrored ceiling runs from the entrance right through the store defining the circulation areas as do the grey matt-finished vitrified tiles. The glossy white Satvario tile flooring demarcates various clothing zones.¨

Facing challenges
One of the major challenges faced by Studio Osmosis was the lack of visibility for the boutique, since the building was away from the main road. To overcome this, the team retained the glass openings for maximum visibility. A unique window display with gold laser-cut jali patterns was also created. Another challenge was customising of material, welding, bending and laser-cutting, which had to be done in Mumbai. Moreover, the Panache store on the upper floor had to be connected with the new boutique via an internal staircase.

The showstopper outlet of Panache is sure to offer a pleasant surprise to its high-end customers!

Total Area: 2,100 sf
Total Cost: Rs.3500/sq ft
Text: Kanishka Ramchandani

Meet the designers
Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally
Firm: Studio Osmosis founded in January 2011.
Firm specialisation: Architecture, interior design, planning: hospitality, healthcare, commercial and residential.
Design philosophy: To constantly experiment, adapt, innovate and reinvent ourselves learning from the past and absorbing all we can. The genesis of the word ´Osmosis´. Philosophy towards life: It´s the journey that matters, not just the destination.
Favourite architect/Designer: B V Doshi, Christopher Benninger, Renzo Piano, Shigeru Ban, Kerry Hill and Herzog & de Meuron. CONTACT Studio Osmosis, Shop no 7, Raj CHS, Behind Marathe Udyog Bhavan, New Prabhadevi Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025. Tel: 022-2432 1573. E-mail: mail@studioosmosis.com

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