Society Interiors - - CONTENTS - Text: Abi­gail Ban­erji Pho­to­graphs: Cour­tesy the firm

Stu­dio TAB stretches the boundaries of imag­i­na­tion through a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the tra­di­tional sari as one of the de­sign el­e­ment at JJ Silks in Mum­bai.

The sari has al­ways been a part of in­dian cul­ture and tra­di­tion. From time immemorial, women all over In­dia have worn them, while mak­ing it their own in the way it is draped. From five yards to nine yards, cot­ton to silk, the idea of the sari has never re­ally changed. If you’re look­ing for proof of the sari’s per­sis­tent ubiq­uity, all you have to do is look around. What has changed over the years is the cloth it is made of and the way it is draped.

JJ Silks is a silk sari brand known for their ex­clu­sive patented de­signs. Their de­signs are renowned and sought after by the elite. They asked Rahul Menon and Ojas Chaud­hari of Stu­dio TAB to de­sign a show­room that would be as ex­clu­sive and unique as their saris are. “We never wanted to cre­ate an ev­ery­day show­room, wherein the prod­uct is thrust onto the cus­tomer’s face, as soon as, one en­ters the retail space. We, in fact, chose to do the op­po­site. Since this show­room is for ex­clu­sive patented de­signs, we re­al­ized that the cus­tomers didn’t re­ally need to be con­vinced about the prod­uct. What we wanted to give the cus­tomers was a never-felt-be­fore retail ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Rahul.

With the client’s brief in mind and an idea of how they would in­ter­pret it, be­gan the jour­ney en­com­pass­ing para­met­ri­cally de­fined curves, a splash of eth­nic­ity and one fine blend of de­sign. Ac­cord­ing to them, the space it­self is like a finely wo­ven silk sari.

Un­like other sari show­rooms, whose op­u­lence and over­whelm­ing gran­deur un­der­mines the nat­u­ral royal-ness of the fab­ric, they have kept the shell of the show­room min­i­mal and bare at the first glance. It serves to en­hance the vi­brancy of silk and the rich­ness of its colours. That ex­plains the colour pal­ette of grey hues on the floor and walls.

The ta­ble is the fo­cal point of the room. At one end is the dis­play zone, with the right amount of space to spread a com­plete sari on. On the other end, sep­a­rated by a glass par­ti­tion, is the re­cep­tion desk. The ta­ble in­ter­jects the glass, cut­ting it in two halfs. The en­tire ta­ble has been made with Traver­tine mar­ble and changes form at ev­ery six inches. It also has stor­age space that has been tact­fully cov­ered and made to look seam­less.

The Traver­tine mar­ble im­print on the sides of the ta­ble then flows down to meet the floor. It stirs up an im­age of two fab­rics in­ter­twin­ing and flow­ing to their own rhythm. The sub­tle re­flec­tive con­crete floor­ing serves to com­plete the de­sign. The shade and the tex­ture of the stone have been care­fully se­lected, so as to add to the over­all scheme rather than dis­turb it.

The wall di­rectly in front of the en­trance is de­signed to look like the bor­der of a sari. It makes it stand out against the rest of the room. It also helps cam­ou­flage the door to the back of the show­room. The light­ing adds to the over­all de­sign and tex­ture of the wall in a sub­tle way. The sub­tle play of lev­els here helps to make the en­tire wall ap­pear like a can­vas for mo­tifs, with­out any ap­par­ent breaks in be­tween be­cause of the door. It also ad­dresses the prac­ti­cal­ity of keep­ing the work area/cabins hid­den from the cus­tomers. To com­ple­ment it, the wall at the back of the re­cep­tion has been done sim­i­larly.

The ceil­ing above re­flects the ta­ble be­low. It comes to­gether at two points to form a light drop at the ta­ble — one at the re­cep­tion area and the other at the dis­play part of the ta­ble. The ceil­ing is the high­light of the space, just like the pallu is the main fo­cus of the sari. It lights up the room and look­ing up will en­chant the pa­trons.

Talk­ing more about the ceil­ing, Rahul Menon ex­plains, “The idea of cre­at­ing tes­sel­la­tions was an ex­per­i­ment in it­self. After sev­eral lay­outs and draw­ings, we came upon what we see to­day, a sim­ple de­sign of con­verg­ing lines with a bold­ness that is sub­tle, but very much present. It has light oak wood fin­ish stretch ceil­ing used for light­ing along with ad­justable lights”.

Last but not the least is the huge paint­ing on the left wall by artist Samira Sukhatme. It is a beau­ti­ful red man­dala de­sign piece that lends to the eth­nic en­vi­ron­ment. It’s vi­brant and bold colours com­ple­ment the saris on dis­play. It just adds to the posh and el­e­gant at­mos­phere of the space. It is the much needed splash of colour in the oth­er­wise neu­tral show­room. On ei­ther sides of the 12’X 7’ art­work stand two brass lamps. On the wall in front of it, are the stor­age cup­boards for the saris that are eas­ily cam­ou­flaged so that no one will even know un­til time comes to open it, to dis­play the saris.

An ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self, en­try to this silk sari show­room is strictly by ap­point­ment only. They seek to rein­vent the wheel, so to say, with their patented sari de­signs. The de­sign­ers have done the same with the way they have en­vi­sioned and then de­signed the retail space.

REg­u­laR BEaT: In Thing, Talk­ing Shop, Prop­erty Watch, Green News, In­ter­na­tional News, Know Your De­signer

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