The Furniture Republic, designed by the Delhi based firm AVA, does not conform to the current retail trend of understated minimalist design; instead the store is rich with colour and texture showcasing its own unique aura.
Myriad shades of brown are splayed in 19,500 square feet of décor and display space giving the store an inimitable signature style. The Delhi based design firm of Architect Vistasp & Associates, have designed a showroom in Noida called The Furniture Republic where furniture of all varieties are arranged in a studio setting or as random displays – creating a storyline as you weave your way through it.
The clients, Meerut based market leaders in carpet and home furnishings, had a clear idea of how the showroom should be. A simple brief was given to the architects, which required them to create a store where the customers would feel comfortable while browsing or buying furniture. The owners felt that in the current retail market, there exists a huge gap between supply and expectation of value for money furniture, hence, the store had to be welcoming without being too overzealous.
Unlike chic, chrome finished, clean lined décor, what greets you at the store is an assortment of design ideas ranging from the vernacular to the modern – all laced into a single theme. Spread across two floors, an eclectic and inspiring mix of modern furniture from South East Asia and vernacular furniture from across India along with various traditional artisan products are brought into focus. The structural elements and finishes around them conspire to enhance their appeal. The assorted array combines three important attributes – good design, great product quality and value for money – the perfect mix for any great buy!
The ground floor houses contemporary furniture which appeals to most urban dwellers; sofas, tables and chairs are displayed in a setting that is as rich as the product itself.
The furniture pieces sit on marble chip flooring, zoned into enclosures that are screened with the help of bamboo. The severity of the exposed ceiling is mitigated by using circular discs and trails of lights that augment the natural sunrays that permeate the glazed surfaces.
Circulation paths have been clearly marked with a difference in material and texture or by raising the display floor platforms. This idea, in different praxis, can be seen on all floors irrespective of the design and décor theme.
According to architect Vistasp Bhagwagar, principal architect at AVA, “The store suitably reflects a made-in-India-for-India approach towards retail design in contrast to glossy floors and factory finished false ceilings as seen in other contemporary stores!” This approach is clearly visible where brick platforms are the setting for traditional Indian furniture pieces from all over the country. The platforms are marked by pebbles and are also raised higher than the circulation path which is finished in timber. High ceilings in rustic and raw finishes add to this ambience.
The ceilings take a different look at the reception where a parabolic backdrop crafted from timber cross-sections comes forward to cover the vicinity; spot lights between the cross-sections lend an amber glow to the space. The reception is warm in its welcome and unique in its display setting. The flooring, a combination of marble chips with white Indian marble slabs as stepping stones lead you into the magical land of furniture.
No retail store is complete without a perfect illumination pattern to highlight and brighten its exhibits. In The Furniture Republic, natural light plays out its ‘Drams’ in abundance, and later 25 watt lamps fixed to drift wood rafters lend a golden hue. Inside the store, one does not find the mundane, instead you are confronted with finishes and palettes that tickle your senses and inspire you to dwell further into your choices.
The architects believe that retail stores today need not shout from the roof top, but must quietly display an inherent earthiness and cultural rootedness which does not come from aping the west. The team has designed a space that exemplifies their belief, the client’s vision and the customer’s tastes. The Furniture Republic welcomes all into its embrace with its chic, rustic and eclectic grace.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs Courtesy The Architect