Asahi India Glass
Shopping for Architectural Glass is a unique experience at the flagship store of Asahi India Glass (AIS) Limited in Gurgaon. First of its kind, “Glasxperts” is a one-stop-shop that brings an integrated approach to glass selection and installation for homes, offices and commercial spaces. Ms. Asha Sairam, Project Designer from Lotus, shares the challenges and milestones of the project.
Located at the ground floor of Agora mall in Gurgaon, a small portion of the current retail area was already used by AIS as office space. "Gauging the huge potential that the architectural glass industry imbibes, a fully functional showroom was proposed to be conceived that would represent the brand spirit as ‘the one-stop solution’ for any glass requirement and the commitment to a hasslefree experience for customers”, says Asha.
A study of potential clientele revealed two fundamental categories- architects and designers who may already be familiar with the technical specifications of the product and independent home owners, who may not be aware of the possibilities with glass. This finding led to dividing the retail experience into two zones- one for pure demonstration and the other an easy to browse product display zone. Asha explains, “As the display of the glass did not require much space, a majority was dedicated to the demonstration area which was designed to innovatively showcase the application of glass in commercial, residential and hospitality industries”.
The demonstration area has separate sections for home and commercial application with the discussion hub between them for consultative meeting with potential customers. Tyvek, a versatile non-woven material which does not fade or tear is used to create physical screens which use innovative graphics appropriate for each.
Unlike as in traditional retail space an unconventional method was used to present the store offerings. “Habitually, this could have been done by using furniture and props that recreated a home or office like space. However, dealing with glass as the primary product – which is transparent and has no real visual character, we chose to avoid any kind of visual clutter of traditional settings,” states Asha.
Different contrasting backdrops were used to highlight and draw attention to the variety of glass featured in the store. This concept also helped in breaking up the store layout interestingly into different sections and pockets, using Tyvek screens, to experience the products in the store. Asha explains, “Held from ceiling and the floor, Tyvek gave the flexibility of printing on screens while laser
cut perforations allowed them to become light and transparent creating layers in the space. Ceiling height of 5metres added to the drama as it allowed some screens to be taken to full height.”
To showcase the use of glass between indoor and outdoor spaces, one edge of the demo space is created as an outdoor space, with an Astroturf insert in the flooring. The backdrop to this outer space is a 5m high wall spanning the entire length of the store. The wall is clad with cement board printed with graphics representing various scenes like a cityscape adjacent to the office-like space and a green backyard for a home set up.
Designed as an interactive space, the display area exhibits various types of glass based on its function. Asha explains, “As glass is best appreciated when one looks through it rather than at it, the display panels were flanked against the wall and floated about a foot away from it. The panels were also made pivotable allowing customers to move them with ease and change their viewing angle as desired.” The walls, like in the demo area, form backdrops for the display with abstract graphics which represents the various functions of the glass on display. Touch screen panels enable customers to access detailed information about the products.
A unique ‘suspended glass meeting’ room was designed and engineered to hover, without any supports going to the floor, over the discussion space in the demo area.
This was made possible with a collaborative effort between Glasxperts, Bangalore based structural consultants Manjunath & Co. and Lotus. The meeting room is connected to the office via a suspended glass walkway and a glass staircase. To create a dramatic effect at the store front was a challenge and Asha admits, “The facade of the store proved to be most challenging. With so many layers in the space we felt the best approach would be to have a clean and open glass facade; however the clients also wished to retain a sense of privacy in the store.” The entire facade was clad with Lumisty polarizing film which allows view into the store only when the viewer’s line of sight is perpendicular to the glass. It remains frosted otherwise. This creates a magical effect on the seemingly simple glass facade as different parts of the store are revealed to passers-by from different angles of view. Overall, effective presentation techniques used in the store with a combination of technology and engineering helped create a unique ambience in the store and hence a superlative signature brand experience in inside it
Ankur Choksi, Asha Sairam, Arun Kullu, Chandni Aggarwal, Navin Jha, Vijendra Sharma, Sanjay Kumar
Graphic Design Collaborators
Manjunath & Co.
André J. Fanthome
The demonstration area has separate sections for home and commercial application with the discussion hub between them
Astroturf inserts in the flooring was used to demonstrate the use of glass between indoor and outdoor spaces
The interactive display area presents the product range based on features and is supported with touch screens that provide detailed product information
An all glass meeting room, is engineered to be suspended without any supports from the floor
The glass facade cladwith Lumisty polarizing film created a magical effect for passers-by as they moved in front of it