Tak­ing the call on floor­ing

To un­der­stand the im­por­tance of floor­ing, VM & RD chat­ted up with some prom­i­nent re­tail de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects and got their take on floor­ing bud­gets, chal­lenges and more… Read on…

VM&RD - - SPECIAL FEATURE – FLOORING - Re­ported by Sus­mita Das & Nabamita Chat­ter­jee

De­cid­ing on the type of floor­ing is a big call that the de­signer needs to take keep­ing in mind the dif­fer­ent ob­jec­tives of the floor­ing ma­te­rial for the for­mat it serves. Key cri­te­ria that need to be con­sid­ered are the bud­get, sup­ply chal­lenges and the de­sign con­cept of the for­mat. The type of for­mat, its mer­chan­dise and the TG in­flu­ence the im­por­tance given by the brand or re­tailer to in­vest­ment on floor­ing. Sup­ply chal­lenges im­pact the fea­si­bil­ity of the rec­om­men­da­tion and the de­sign con­cept the im­por­tance to the de­tail­ing. Let's hear what the DE­SIGN­ERS and AR­CHI­TECTS have to say on this ……….


“Bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for floor­ing projects varies and is dif­fer­ent es­pe­cially in the case of longterm projects and ven­tures where de­sign has to be changed at an in­ter­val of 2-3 years. At the same time if it is jewellery show­room then it is al­ways very high-end lav­ish floor­ing which is the de­mand of the prod­uct. So bud­get­ing is also de­pen­dent on that,” ex­plains

Bipratip Dhar, Ar­chi­tect at Ep­silon.

Anuja Gupta, In­te­rior Dec­o­ra­tor at Restore So­lu­tions how­ever “The com­mon per­cep­tion peo­ple have to­wards floor­ing ma­te­ri­als es­pe­cially when it comes to re­tail spa­ces is that it is the most un­seen and least im­por­tant ma­te­rial and hence is bud­geted al­ways the low­est for a space. At times a few re­tail spa­ces do have pock­ets of espe­cial floor­ings to en­hance the mer­chan­dise or rarely as a de­sign fea­ture but the quan­tity is al­ways very small and hence the price doesn't re­ally af­fect the buyer at large.”

avers, “From the client’s per­spec­tive floor­ing is a very im­por­tant as­pect be­cause it has to be re­ally strong to bear the foot­fall as peo­ple are on it. For ex­am­ple, if a client is in­vest­ing quite an amount on the vis­ual mer­chan­dise and re­tail de­sign­ing and wants that to stay for a long pe­riod of 10 years then the floor­ing has to be very sturdy. So the weigh­tage given is very high.” On the con­trary

Vi­noo Chadha, Ar­chi­tect at The De­sign Cell shares,

Hold­ing the view ‘Think long term’ Alas­tair Kean, Group Di­rec­tor, Dalziel and Pow

ex­plains, “As floor­ing rep­re­sents a huge pro­por­tion of any bud­get and is both dis­rup­tive and ex­pen­sive to change we feel that its con­sid­er­a­tion as an ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ment makes the most sense. How­ever the choice of floor­ing needs to be seen in the longer term and needs to re­flect the tough foot­fall de­mands over its life­cy­cle.”

Like­wise Devyani Jaiswal, Ar­chi­tect & In­te­rior De­signer at D J As­so­ciates

says, “In com­par­i­son to res­i­den­tial space the cost weight-age for re­tail floor cov­er­ing is less here in In­dia from the client’s per­spec­tive. If the bud­get of the hous­ing pro­ject is Rs.500 then may be it is Rs. 100 for re­tail.”

San­jay Agar­wal, Di­rec­tor at FRDC

how­ever feels, “A max­i­mum 10 per­cent goes to­wards the floor­ing as­pect only in case of a pre­mium en­vi­ron­ment.”


Well when it comes to chal­lenges, most from the de­sign fra­ter­nity are quick to ar­tic­u­late the grouses. Here’s what each one of them had to say about it:. “Floor­ing tiles avail­able in the In­dian mar­ket right now usu­ally lack in uni­for­mity, con­sis­tency in qual­ity, color, fin­ishes and most im­por­tantly the avail­abil­ity. The im­ported tile ma­te­ri­als are def­i­nitely bet­ter in fin­ish, but the cost at which they are avail­able in the mar­ket and the lead time the ma­te­rial takes to get to site al­ways makes the end users re­sis­tant to them.” –

Anuja Gupta, In­te­rior Dec­o­ra­tor at Restore So­lu­tions

“Here the big­gest chal­lenge we face is work­man­ship. Though the num­ber of op­tions and va­ri­eties have in­creased, we find work­ers are not trained by the com­pa­nies. So, ev­ery­thing is man­aged by one trained per­son and it makes us cau­tious about spec­i­fy­ing ex­pen­sive floor as there is no qual­ity guar­an­tee. Se­condly, dealer net­work­ing also acts as `a stum­bling block be­cause it’s tough to keep up to time, money and break­age along with many other is­sues.” – San­jay Agar­wal, Di­rec­tor, FRDC “In the In­dian con­text, we need to choose floor ma­te­rial de­pend­ing on the main­te­nance fac­tor as our ten­dency is to keep it for more than what it is sup­posed to be, so nat­u­rally it fades or get spoilt with the us­age.” –

Nagaraja R, Di­rec­tor -De­sign, Four Di­men­sions (4D)

“In In­dia it de­pends on the kind of busi­ness. Weather con­di­tion is also a ma­jor fac­tor, Be­sides, there are fac­tors like whether the show­room will have high-traf­fic or mod­er­ate one or is it for a much cho­sen clien­tele. For ex­am­ple, we have done the fur­nish­ing show­room for Times Fur­nish­ing in Park Street, Kolkata hav­ing a very el­e­gant white floor­ing though they have a very high foot­fall, be­cause again af­ter 2-3 years there will be a re­vamp­ing of the store dé­cor.”

-Bipratip Dhar, Ar­chi­tect –Ep­silon.

“The big­gest is­sue is the main­te­nance of the floor. The in­creas­ing rate of pol­lu­tion, dust, mud makes it dif­fi­cult to pre­serve very high-end floors, thus for most of the cases the vit­ri­fied tiles or nat­u­ral stones should be used which are hardy.”

Devyani Jaiswal, Ar­chi­tect & In­te­rior De­signer, D J As­so­ciates

“Be­cause of the con­di­tion of work sites dur­ing con­struc­tion, your choice of ma­te­ri­als need to be con­sid­ered not only in terms of how the ma­te­rial will stand up dur­ing re­tail us­age, but also in terms of whether the ma­te­rial has the abil­ity to “sur­vive” the c on­struc­tion process. This im­pacts ev­ery­thing from choices of grout ma­te­rial and col­ors, to the dura­bil­ity of the ma­te­rial to hold up, stand up against lad­ders, con­struc­tion equip­ment, etc. In most parts of the world, the floor is ei­ther the last thing that goes down in a store and/or is pro­tected dur­ing the con­struc­tion process, which is not some­thing that is stan­dard dur­ing In­dian con­struc­tion. En­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors are par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing as well, not only from the dura­bil­ity of the ma­te­rial, but also the abil­ity of the ma­te­rial to look good dur­ing the store’s daily life­cy­cle.” - Ken Nisch,

Chair­man – JGA

Store De­sign Con­cept Fi­nally, is floor­ing an ex­ten­sion of the whole VM pack­age of a store? Well, here’s what they had to say: “It is al­ways an ex­ten­sion of the Store De­sign and VM Theme be­cause the vis­ual mer­chan­dise tells you a tale and thus nat­u­rally floor­ing is a part of it. For ex­am­ple, we did a show­room for Shreeji Jewellers or Varima Fash­ions, where the floor­ing has a very tra­di­tional touch with in­lay and a de­sign el­e­ment in the mid­dle as fo­cus with the false ceil­ing giv­ing an eth­nic look. In com­par­i­son to that, the uni­form floor­ing for In­dera Mo­tors por­trays a huge look and a mod­ern trend as well. Thus it es­tab­lishes the fact that the theme dom­i­nates the de­sign ele­ments.” -

Bipratip Dhar, Ar­chi­tect – Ep­silon

“Floor­ing is al­ways an ex­ten­sion of the Store De­sign and VM theme. De­pend­ing on the prod­uct, it may have a rus­tic look, a smooth feel, a shiny look and so on. For ex­am­ple, for the restau­rant Oval in Kolkata, we have used var­i­ous ele­ments on the floor like strips of peb­bles run­ning by side for de­mar­cat­ing the lounge-bar area from the rest of the din­ing space where the floor­ing has got a rus­tic feel. For a sa­ree show­rooms if the space is wide then one may play with many de­sign­ing ele­ments hav­ing an eth­nic touch into it.”

- Devyani Jaiswal, Ar­chi­tect & In­te­rior De­signer, D J As­so­ciates

Th­ese tes­ti­monies val­i­date the fact that Mul­ti­di­men­sional is­sues need to be ad­dressed when tak­ing the call on the type of floor­ing that a brand or re­tailer needs to in­vest in. A good call is a pru­dent mix of good value for money, fea­si­bil­ity of the rec­om­men­da­tion and ap­pro­pri­ate­ness for the store de­sign con­cept. This would not just make good busi­ness sense but also help de­liver the in­tended brand ex­pe­ri­ence in the store en­vi­ron­ment

Pic: Shree­jee Jewellers show­room de­signed by Bipratip Dhar, Ar­chi­tect – Ep­silon Pvt Ltd.

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