Spread across 6500 sq ft and designed by the city-based architectural firm 4Walls Design Studio, Crest – The Nature Store takes the brand’s long legacy of plywood distributorship to the next level of experiential retail.
Crest – The Nature Store in Hyderabad is a refurbished retail space converted from a fabricated shed which previously housed a godown, which makes up half of its space, the other half being the store. The raw 6500 sq ft structure, was haphazard including a half mezzanine and an entire ground floor with 23’ height. The parallelly-located store didn’t allow much of space to appreciate its elevational view. However, the raw and industrial structure gave room for inspiration and imagination to reimagine the store design. The whole store design has been conceptualised with the use of only the brand’s products. Therefore, the zoning is based on two broad types of plywoods – Natural and artificial. While the whole store is designed like a fluid gallery, the height of the space contributed to the breathing space. In order to focus on the products, the pathways of the store have been kept dark, focusing on the product under strategic lighting, building a “pilling effect” towards light in a dark room. The industrial design theme, combined with generous use of metal and glass, was put to play to bring about the dark-and-light effect.
The Artsy Gallery
Having a lengthy front facia, the carpet area is developed with the ideas of exoskeleton and endoskeleton. Endoskeleton has been derived from toughened glass along with glass doors for the main entrance and the exoskeleton is done through a canvas covering over the glass from the road with a depth difference of 15”. This canvas is designed in an abstract frame work, running through the complete height of 23” which makes it super huge and is designed in breaks so as to have two sets of facia: one that shows the skeleton and
the other that shows the display through the glass facade. In the evenings, the store lights allow the display of products next to the glass. The rest of the facade is lit from wall washers from above and below. From the merchandises of Crest, 4mm exterior fundermax facade in rustic brown was used at the entrance, while a triangular 2”x2” CNC was used to reduce the loudness of the sheet and increase the noise of attraction.
The ground floor, spanning across 4500 sq ft showcases the veneer world, wardrobes,
With stores in the old wholesale market evolving into new modern showrooms, it had its own challenge of competing with many other similar stores. It was clear to me that one needs to be unique in such a scenario and in order to level up the potential of the store to the unique veneers and wooden logs, which is their USP, one needs build both the background as well as the foreground.
kitchens, reception, furniture pieces. A 15’-20’ long wooden log imported from Russia, which was cut from a single bark of 500-year-old trees, acted as a showstopper piece.
There was a challenge to re-develop the I-section standing in the centre of the whole shed supporting the mezzanine and a 12’ high diagonal box was designed to cover the same in order to make it look like the part of design. The box was also used as transition of space to the veneer world, which had kitchens on both its sides, making it look like a tunnel. Pine wood was the central material in the major part of the ground floor.
Look Of A Library
The veneer world is designed like an enclosed art gallery, with aracon panels walls in grey shade to go along with the industrial theme. Both the sides of the room are left as a canvas to show the veneer sheets. Central track lights facing towards the walls, makes them blow up and an indirect lighting allows the seating area to be lit, which is good enough for the products. An actual tree trunk is clamped in air with both sides having a similar veneer of the same skin of the tree, depicting the idea that veneer is a real skin and not artificial like laminate. The hanging white board in the central space showcases a huge sketchy art work, explaining how a veneer is made from a tree trunk to a beautiful rolled sheet. The first floor of mezanine overlooking the double height space has a ship deck kind of image. A piece of fixed glass at a 20-degree angle was placed, giving the whole view of the ground floor. Log benches, easily accessible catalogue sheets etc lets one browse through some 5000 display options effortlessly within a library-like space. GC
Hardware Loven & Deco
Lighting Tirumala Lights
Photographs Ricken Desai
Aditya Tibrewal, Director, Crest Being in core distributorship business for a long time in the wholesale market, we decided to give the brand a facelift through a retail space. At the same time, we wanted a space that stood out in terms of being experiential and customised.
Abhinav Batchu, Founder, 4Walls Design Studio