Indian designer Anita Dongre’s brand Grassroot made its debut in New York’s SoHo district through a 1500 sq ft store. Designed by Shonan Trehan, the clean and muted space speaks of a long tale of the brand and Indian craftsmen.
Roots In A Distant Land
Grassroot, a brand that imbibes the simplicity of its craftspeople’s lives, when decided to hobnob with the ace high street brands at SoHo’s Broome Street, chose a natural architecture much like a tranquil Zen garden. Designer Shonan Trehan worked towards the “experience” through elements that are available in an Indian village. The execution came by through wise use of fabric-adorned walls, fixtures made of recycled wood, custom made racks and hangers with shuttleinspired details. “It is much like allowing the retail experience that was as much about experiencing the heart of the brand as it was about showcasing the product,”Trehan said.
The store is located in one of SoHo’s historic 1890 Romanesque Revival masonry building designed by architect Alfred Zucker in brick and sandstone. The entrance and façade are part of this beautiful piece of architecture. In fact, the choice of property was based on the its location and superb storefront bathed in natural light. The lighting relies heavily on the sunlight that pours in from the shopfront and supported by strategically placed track lights to highlight sections. The effort in every case has been to retain the original architecture of this landmark space including the Corinthian detailing around the support pillars.
Hinterland At The Heart
Grassroot is Anita’s dream of 30 years that has come alive and a celebration of Indian crafts people— it was essential for every part of the store to speak of this without drowning out the voice of the crafts themselves.
“In that sense, every element is carefully chosen for a purpose in rose gold, cork or recycled wood. Every detail is special in this store, from custom-made racks that give a nod to the humble shuttle (used in hand woven fabric) and dreamy wall panels of handwoven chanderi and khadi that tell the journey of the brand,” Santhosh Kumar, Project Head and Pramod Dubey, Project Lead, explained.
The Zen Garden
The store has a fairly simple layout designed as an open plan, with merchandise fixtures against walls that lead into the trial rooms at the back. The divisions are purely visual and based on colour blocking instead of architectural invasions. On the objectives of multiple windows, Unni Augustine, Head – VM, said, “Three store windows collectively speak about the bond between the artisan and a shopper. It uses a LED backlit box with fabric print and a text copy that speaks of Grassroot’s commitment to creating better tomorrows to safeguard our people, crafts and the environment.
The fabric panels, fixtures and framed images across the store tell the brand’s story
The storefront is one of the two yawning three story arches of the building and bathes the space in sunlight.
Santhosh Kumar, Project Head, Grassroot
The one challenge in this project was to ensure that the concept we created for the retail experience subscribed entirely to Grassroot’s promise of respecting the earth. Choosing eco-friendly and recyclable material was key in making this happen. Shonan’s team & the projects team embraced this philosophy and delivered to this requirement.
The store is centered on the idea of being minimal and allowing space for the crafts to speak.
Unni Augustine, VM Head, Grassroot
The visual merchandising is on the minimal and modern lines signifying the brands essence rooted with the crafts. Basic props are given to enhance the merchandise and aide cross merchandising.
Shonan Trehan Designer
“It is much like allowing the retail experience that was as much about experiencing the heart of the brand as it was about showcasing the product,”