Communicating with a hundred percent clarity is the most critical part of a design. More so when one discards a standard set of assumptions and sifts through a wide array of ideas, philosophies and trends and then makes a choice. What follows this process is one such example.
Is it necessary for every designed space to speak of its purpose at the very first glance? Or is it alright if it indulges us in a sort of dialogue before the purpose makes itself clear? What happens when a space makes us so comfortable that we linger around the place and purpose both?
The V & K boutique in south Mumbai, designed by Chirag Dewan, was conceived with an idea that was commensurate with the Mumbai mindset of not going over the top, perfectly contrasting the Delhi idea of a boutique.
The trick was to give the designers a little piece of Mumbai and cut down on the ‘showing off’. This reflects in every aspect of the design of the boutique, from the choice of materials to the lighting, the texture and the finish. It invites you at the very first glance and makes you curious enough to want to go beyond just a peek. And when you do, it doesn’t disappoint you in the least bit!
The entire store might just be one large uninterrupted enclosure, but the flow of movement is seamless and in a way very precise, as if the designer gave an utmost priority to saving time and unrequited effort.
The use of materials is also measured, calculated and thought-out in a way that doesn’t hurt the eye or be an eyesore as some would say. It doesn’t stare at you right in your face and at the same time makes a point; a valid one at that. It speaks of a certain resilience, brought about with the use of wood and brass which have an ingrained quality of toning things down, mellowing them a tad bit. Having a sixth sense in design is one thing but implementing it in your plan and taking care of the client’s requirements is quite another.
The private cabins speak clearly on this very same line. A private room in a place as public as a boutique is essentially an irony; but this place has an authority that creates an unwritten rule. The use of teak wood in the form of screens translates into the cultivation of numerous niches wherever required. The brass fittings holding the hangers are simple and the simplicity is such that imposing a design concept onto it would be almost demeaning. It is the same case with the style of furniture used. The subtle authority we all are not so used to comes out in all its grandeur here.
The embossed design on the walls and the matte finish of the surfaces is something that reinforces style and sophistication, something that people want to be assured about while visiting a designer boutique.
The very first step into the store introduces a huge contrast between what was outside and what is inside. But the change doesn’t make you feel uneasy. It rather puts you at ease. The idea was to create a space in which people would feel at home as that is when they shop the most. That’s how the central part of the store developed into the cosiest one too.
The whole idea was to provide the customers with a comfortable place where they wouldn’t get bored. The efficient and smart usage of space creates an impression of openness and the central seating area provides a sense of luxury as it is much larger than really required.
The specialty of the store lies in the way it fits into one huge showroom a number of distinct varieties or ‘lines’ of apparel. There is a very definite and yet understated delineation between the men’s wear and the women’s wear which negates the need for signs.
It takes you by surprise at places; for example the doors camouflaged with the same pattern as on some walls. In simple words, the individual elements blend. The only downside is the absence of any natural light or ventilation, which is really quite essential in judging colours and textures of any kind of fabric.
But this is an issue in Mumbai on a city level; we are all slaves of space. Interior design, or any design for that matter, is just an endeavour towards perfection and not perfection itself!
Text By Nimmy Joshi
Photographs By Shuba Ragulan