Said-ul-ajab, Saket, New Delhi
The client for the project launched a new label-‘La Palette by Sanchit Mehra’, with expertise in the intricacies of Indian ethnic wear on likes and lines of Celebratory garments. The brand provides bespoke services catering to walk in clients as well as the niche. The store intents to operate in a manner where the end customer would arrive on appointment, shortlist the garment or style and have it tailor made. This implies the need for not just a display area, but also a comfortable lounge to accommodate long desk meetings with the customer and their families. The brief was to display around 150 garments and be able to stack up more than 400 pieces. The store needed a podium display (for showcasing the masterpiece) apart from having sections for men, women and kids.
The space had to seem modern and add glamour to the already intricately designed pieces to be displayed, yet working within a stringent budget of less than 10 lakhs. The display system had to be modular, reconfigurable and removable to be reused in a new space.
Our observation of the clothing line of La palette was that they were heavy on embroidery and had a unique amalgamation of traditional and contemporary craft. The space to house these garments had to also reverberate the same essence. In one glance the space had to reveal the clients expertise in embroidery.
An inexpensive material had to be used that could be modular in nature and allow quick execution at site. Embroidery hoops were an appropriate choice of material for such a store. The strong circular form allowed the formation of a range of geometric patterns, including floral formations. Layers of hoops were arrayed to make geometric patterns of varying density. Lighting played an important role apart from enhancing the display of garments. Through the shadows it would cast, these geometric patterns could be replicated.
The use of hoops and its shadow opened up a range of possibilities to transform the space. Respecting the functional requirements of the store, the space was sequentially divided in zones or rooms. These were not, physical rooms, but a space contained within jaali partitions, that would showcase a particular range of clothing. These jaali partitions were fashioned out of the hoops and were also used to create the suspended display system for the store. Panels of display rails and partition screens were created out of embroidery hoops, which were modular and could be easily replicated to be used in any of the future stores. A total of 2800 hoops were sourced at a very nominal cost to put together these enclosures.
The overall store is an amalgamation of rigid form imitating a faceted black diamond and soft geometric floral textures. This fusion of the contemporary and the ethnic, taking clues from the context was the key design strategy. The other factors driving design were time and budget constraint. The design has been worked meticulously towards a cost effective project, yet achieving alluring interiors. Space management, low cost flooring, minimal false ceiling and hands on approach using unskilled labour and local material enabled the project to be executed within set parameters.
Located in an urban village, an art hub next to monument-Qila Rai Pittora, Mehrauli precinct, the approach into the store had to reflect some essence of its vicinity. The entrance to the store is through a narrow passage, an arcade in white created by an illusion with mirrors transforming a 4 feet entry to seem double its width. This grand entry transits to a contemporary fashion studio depicting glamour and luxury.
Right at the entry a feature wall has been carefully crafted to showcase various embroidery masterpieces by the client (a three dimensional fly, a crawling lizard, a feather etc.) A black crystalline podium separates the sections of the store and showcases the show stopper of the month, adorned on a floating mannequin. The central podium – the crystal, anchors the different sections and zones of the store.