DC Design has developed India’s first mobile jewellery showroom to help Thrissur-based Chemmanur Group to expand its market reach.
DC Design has developed India's first mobile jewellery showroom to help Thrissur-based Chemmanur Group to expand its market reach.
Gold rush in the state of Kerala is well known. The New York Times in 2012 published a story on Kerala’s obsession for gold. It stated that Kerala values nothing more than gold. It stated that it is comforting for the people of the state to know that their erstwhile rulers too had a fascination for the yellow metal, which they stored in the temple as an offering and as an insurance against famine. The story mentioned that Kerala is gold’s own country. Claimed to gobble 20 per cent of the country’s gold consumption despite having just three per cent of the population, Kerala has over 5000 retailers of the noble metal. Contributing to India’s reputation as the largest consumer of gold in the world – India consumes 30 per cent of the world’s gold, the sky-rocketing prices have failed to deter the people of Kerala from buying gold. To them, gold simply does not cease to amaze. The village of Koduvally near Kozhikode for example, has nearly forgotten its tradition of pottery-making for gold. It boasts of over 100 jewellery shops. Clients include families who have relatives working in Gulf countries. Apart from exposure to foreign countries, the state’s obsessed for gold is claimed to date back to the Roman era. Kerala then, and in particular Kochi (Cochin), was a key port among the channels of trade and frequented not only by Roman ships but also by Greeks, Jews, Arabs and Chinese.
The foreign merchants and their customers were so besotted with Indian pepper, cardamom and cinnamon that they were quite happy to part with increasing amounts of gold in exchange.
If the growing remittances by 20 lakh (and rising) nonresidents and a steep increase in the price of rubber is claimed to fuel the state’s gold rush, for India’s savings-conscious society gold has always found a way of translating into an insurance against cloudy days. It is similar to how governments buy gold for the amount of currency they print, to ensure that their currency is valued and respected. Worn during family functions, the obsession for gold in Kerala has been greatly complementing India’s consumption at 746-tonne every year according to the World Gold Council. Attracting film stars and sportsmen of repute as goodwill ambassadors, the obsession for gold has ensured that the industry, which employs over two hundred thousand people, finds new ways to reach out to the buyers. In what could be termed as the most striking way of reaching out to buyers thus far, Mumbai-based DC Design has delivered India’s first mobile jewellery showroom to Thrissur-based Chemmanur Group. It is based on a semitrailer (truck), and painted in a striking colour of yellow and matt gray. A head turner, the tractortrailer combination, according to Dilip Chhabria, Chairman and Managing Director, DC Design, was developed with an intention to transport gold to places where people are short of time; to make it convenient for people to buy gold, and to also facilitate impulsive buying.
To power their mobile jewellery showroom, the Chemmanur Group chose a 410 hp Scania G410 6x4 tractor. The mobile showroom is built on the trailer. It took a good five months for DC Design to execute the project. The semi-trailer measures 40 ft. With the earlier creations of DC Design based on a rigid inter-city bus chassis measuring upto 14.8 ft, the use of a Scania tractortrailer combination comes as a surprise. So, what prompted DC Design to use a Scania truck for the job? According to Chhabria, the decision to use a Scania truck as the basis for a mobile jewellery showroom was entirely of the client, the Chemmanur Group. “Cost was not an issue with the client. What he wanted was the best and the most striking,” he added. One look at the rig, and it is clear that a lot of effort has gone into the making of it. The shade of yellow with a streak of gray running throughout the length of the whole vehicle makes the Scania semi-trailer looks like it has come from Mars almost! The colour scheme was dictated by the client according to Chhabria. A bright colour along with the highly voluptuous shape helped to achieve a stunning look. Stunning looking the mobile jewellery showroom is. If the Scania G410 6x4 prime mover attracts attention, the semi-trailer simply commands attention.
Averred Chhabria, that the brief was to create a standout mobile retail outlet; the one that does not look like a plain Jane fabricated box on wheels, but is designed through the exacting automotive development process, which includes concept sketches, a 1:5 scale model, computer aided design and engineering, analysis, milling the plugs and generating composites including carbon substrates. “The process allowed for extreme contouring on all the axes, an important factor to help differentiate and create a distinct unique style that was more spaceship than vehicle,” he stated. The structural challenge was the manufacture of a highly curvaceous and complex outer skin. It did not allow for the usual tubular superstructure route. DC Design had to create skin panels like cars and reinforce them at vantage points with structural members. Revealed Chhabria while touching upon his earlier projects, that this is the first time
where the exterior design of the vehicle is of greater prominence than the interior.
Acting as a substitute to a brick and mortar showroom, the interior of the mobile jewellery showroom is well crafted and imposing to say the least. Away from the exterior design brief, which called for jaw dropping style coupled with the rather huge dimensions of the semitrailer combination, the interior involves a two-level showroom. If the trailer facilitated a large bed size, the interior includes a hydraulic expanding side section with hydraulic opening stairways akin to private jets. Divided into two sections – diamond and gold, the showroom also includes a billing section, a conference room and a rest room. Expressed Chhabria, “In the case of the interior, the challenge was to balance aesthetics with various functions. There was also the need to manage the expansive sizes of substrates, the combination of disparate materials like aluminium, steel, carbon, glass, plastics, fabrics, leather, etc.” To create the right ambiance, stress was laid on lighting. Considering the nature of activity, stress was also laid on tighter tolerances. The standards of fit and finish are high therefore. Interestingly, the hydraulically opening stairways, when closed, form the outer skin. They have their own hand rails which fold open. They have their own fail safe devises to ensure safety. Heavily fortified with security contraptions, the mobile jewellery showroom has the best vehicle security that can be had. There’s high resolution cameras that have remotely actuated swivel and night vision. Also fitted are proximity sensors and more. The vehicle, measuring 2.6 m in width, can be remotely immobilised, its door and racks can be remotely secured.
On the move
Expected to be a fitting alternative to brick and mortar showrooms that may not always turn out to be viable in the wake of competition, the mobile jewellery showroom is claimed to be the first of the three such vehicles planned. The other two would find their way to Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Considering the length of the tractor trailer, it may be logical to think if it will travel over the ever winding roads of Kerala. Explained Chhabria, that much to their surprise they found the vehicle to be capable of manoeuvring through narrow and tight spaces where a bus or a rigid truck would find it difficult. “The articulated nature of the vehicle makes it possible,“he added. At DC Design operations in Pune, it was surprisingly easy to manoeuvre the Scania semitrailer as compared to several 14.8 m coaches that the company has worked upon. Trucks are about business, and the Chemmanur Group’s mobile jewellery showroom is no exception. A head turner, the vehicle could do away with the need for a brick and mortar showroom, which in the face of the competition has the risk of becoming a white elephant. A unique and stunning visual provides an excellent advertising real estate that is also dynamic. Certain to offer the Chemmanur Group a front runner advantage, the Scania- based mobile jewellery showroom has a white dome on the top of the cabin. It denotes a football according to Chhabria. Perhaps hinting at the Chemmanur Group’s association with legendary football star Diego Maradona, the football also speaks about Kerala’s love for the game. There’s little doubt, that the Chemmanur mobile jewellery showroom is set to be a game changer in gold’s own country.