This store in Mumbai, is inspired by, and built to complement designer duo Shantanu & Nikhil’s collection of stunning apparel. Design Office has worked on a minimalist, elegantly staid canvas to build a store that oozes finesse.
Mumbai-based Design Office had an interesting assignment on their hand. This involved designing a store for the renowned peddlers of chic, Shantanu & Nikhil. This was a project where their design ethics had to agree with the aesthetic philosophy of the celebrated duo. Such projects are indeed tricky and rare, but Rishita Das and Rushda Hakim believe in studying their clients’ minds and this clearly shows in how they have had the store look. With deft restraint they built a space where the clothes look like ethereal beings waiting to waltz out into the world. They have imbued subtlety into every corner of the store, playing with light and shade to build an ambience that would make even the high-heeled clientele want to glide.
There is a palpable humility in the way the designers have worked the look of the store. Every muted colour and every staid cladding is trying hard to keep Shantanu & Nikhil’s vision in the spotlight. Design Office has treated this project with maturity and this is apparent in the respect they’ve shown towards their client’s vision. This store has all clothes store essentials, and is replete with mirrors and crystals. What is an apparel outlet after all without these prerequisite props?
The designers have primarily employed the charms of textural contrast to accord the clothes more visual advantage than they already have. The store houses Shantanu & Nikhil’s prêt-à-porter line, which comprises a good mix of ebullient colours, and whites and beiges. These are flowing, frilly dresses beckoning the elegant fashionistas, so it was but obvious that the setting be an understanding side-kick. This is achieved through a grey tone that spans the entire wall space and most of the floor cover. The slate cladding on the walls brings in character and a brilliant off-set to the shimmering drapery around.
The store’s stand-out feature is the minimalist use of colours, lights and mirrors. Indeed, these three elements have been adjusted and tweaked in varying degrees to bring out the best of the collection and to give the whole space a warm, approachable glow. Full credit goes to the coarse slate for making the apparel look dainty and desirable in contrast, while the warm sweeps of light deserve applause for adding to the dull fluorescent sheen all around.
The entrance to the store gives out only a glimpse of what to expect inside. When shut, the main door and windows act as buffers against the noise and grime outside, with the silhouettes of just two mannequins coming up on the main window backdrop. The shutters are all made to flip open, which then play around with the incoming light with the help of slits and slants. An interesting multi-level lamp, shaped like blow horns of varying sizes, keeps the mannequins company.
Sheer white curtains add to the quaintly ethereal quality of the store interiors. An interesting aspect of the add-ons is that they all seem to have placed themselves according to the hue and glitter of the clothes on display. Or maybe, it happened the other way round! Either way, it keeps up the balance in styles and there is no one-upmanship here. A wall with a block pattern, and in a bright sunglow shade, is a stand-out element in this muted universe. Even the desk here apes the flow and crease of the gowns in the store.
This place makes a customer feel special, and also gives her/him a feel of being inside a maze dotted with lovely dresses. The chamfered mirrors, depending on how you look at them, can be encouraging, distracting or purely fascinating. They set up a brilliant play of reflections all around, with the yellows and the blues cutting into the pristine whites.
Shantanu & Nikhil is a well-known brand, with many famous names on their clientele list, so privacy and exclusivity are unspoken demands at their stores. Even in the restroom, draped in Plaster of Paris, the illumination is no scorcher – the general feel is cocoon-like and peaceful.
Design Office, while “brainstorming” before starting work on the Bandra store, “envisaged a space that had a raw quality to it but yet endorsed the finesse of Shantanu & Nikhil.” This store is all that and much more, because it respects its client’s style and the personal space every patron will come expecting. What is remarkable is that it has all been achieved using some very unassuming materials, which have been placed around quite so unobtrusively.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Sahil Mane