VMRD - - Contents - Satarupa Chakraborty


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...

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,”

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