In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem ‘Kubla Khan’, Xanadu is explained as a dream place of great magnificence and luxury. Xanadu the store emanates the same feel.
The 2,000 sq ft retail space at Lavelle Road, Bengaluru offers numerous pleasures for those wanting to do up their homes. It is owned by theatre actor Susan George and Susanna Chandy Mathews, a freelance content curator.
Spread over one floor, the store is so arranged that it reflects the interiors of a home and thus the space is consciously kept open and unobtrusive with all displays and partitions being movable. On entering, one starts with the living room section and then moves into the bar, the dining room, the private den and study, followed by the bedroom, nursery and boudoir.
Each section is complete with appropriate furniture, art, décor and linen. This kind of arrangement proves to be visually meaningful (and homely!) for the visitor. The displays are changed within the individual sections as per the availability of new stock and the sale of existing ones.
The cement flooring gives a seamless look to the entire space and the ceiling is open with the natural columns painted black. The store is lit up with the help of industrial lights coupled with modern chandeliers, providing an interesting contrast. The walls are white with two textured walls in red brick.
The setting creates an all pervasive warm and homely vibe. “Our favourite part of the store’s décor is definitely the full length glass that makes up one entire side of the store from floor to ceiling and end to end. Since we are on the top floor, we essentially look into the tree line of Bengaluru and that is just stunning. It almost feels like you are in someone’s private loft,” remarks Mathews.
While they make items from scratch, they also source antique pieces and redo them, rendering them timeless yet contemporary. Xanadu stands out due to these little forays into experimenting with vintage, as well as the very thoughtful and tasteful curation of products sourced from an array of niche designers. In terms of aesthetics, there is a confluence of classic and modern.
The products are varied and one finds statement pieces of furniture here along with artistic yet functional items like crockery, porcelain, ceramic, vintage rugs, lighting, leather accessories, an extensive range in linen, glassware, jewellery, and plenty more.
“We see ourselves as filling a gap in the home and lifestyle market polarised between premium, ethnic-inspired boutiques and generic departmental stores. Classic re-imagined for the contemporary home is how we like to define ourselves as we are strong advocates of the timeless charm of old-school aesthetics,” says Mathews.
Curation of the products is something that is very evident in the collection. Balancing personal aesthetics and what works isn’t too hard as there are two minds making every decision. Susan is more of a creative soul and her taste is more vintage and classical. Susanna is very keen on classics but for her a touch of modern utility also plays a key role.
Between them they cover quite a wide taste. What is of paramount importance here, though, is staying true to the brand’s aesthetic. After all, they do cater to a discerning section of society that wants to steer clear of kitschy, mass-produced products and run-of-the-mill designs. Hence, being unique and boutique is one of the main USPs of Xanadu.
It is interesting to note that the origins of the brand started off as a stall in the flea markets of Australia selling supple Jaipur linens. After establishing ground in Bengaluru, it has grown organically into this oasis that continues to attract items and people who find pleasure in a well furnished home!
Text By Dhanishta Shah
Photographs By Rajiv Kuruvilla