The bridal section for Heritage, a renowned boutique store based in New Delhi, was designed as an experience channeling the austerity and auspiciousness of a wedding in India. The design follows the ideology of details being not merely technicalities, but a necessary means for breathing life into the design itself.

Being an art and craft aficionado himself, the client had envisioned a larger than life shopping experience for the visitors, that could become the very extension of their entire wedding fiesta. The space thus was imagined as a contemporary chic translation of the luxe and magnetism of the cherished Indian Heritage. All materials and finishes employed were tailored to the intended use and aesthetics of the space. It was further supported by careful research, extensive prototyping and experimentation to maintain design authenticity, giving the store an artisanal flair.

Programmatically the space is divided into four zones- the prêt wear section, the fabric section, the saree section and the bridal wear section. The nature of planning allows a flow between each of these while maintaining an intimate experience. Each section has its own individual character, dictated by the product itself, strung together by a central theme.

The visual identity from the pre-existing ground floor was continued into the second floor through a wall paneling derived from the brand’s logo, playing with the letters of the word – ‘Heritage’ in two languages – English and Hindi. These repeating letters create a pattern – first through wall engravings in hand cast concrete panels, and then through overlapping metal screens giving it a sculptural characteristic, creating an interesting play of shadows. This interactive wall, framing the prêt wear, adds a raw essence to the space, celebrating the beauty of hand work and its effortless charm.

This process was orchestrated as an ode from the architects to the meticulous handwork and craftsmanship behind every piece of Indian wedding wear. Just like the base fabric is enhanced with various embroideries and embellishments, the base texture of concrete panels was further embellished with brass screen to add an oomph and metallic glamour to the space.

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The design uses the soulful combination of concrete and wood, along with the sheen and glory of brass. The wood for the beams was locally sourced, hand cut, scraped and hand treated using various organic stains like tea, coffee, soda, steel wool and vinegar for a unique finish. It was then embellished with delicate ornate symbols inspired by the Hindu scriptures, further enhanced by elements like lotuses, deity feet, swastika and kalash (sacred pot). The Ochre Indian Patent Stone Flooring is inspired by the auspiciousness of ‘Yellow’ in and its significant presence in most functions, from a typical wedding ‘Haldi’ function to the day to day rituals. It is the colour of happiness, stability and meditation, also widely used in heritage monuments like the Jaisalmer Fort; adding a hint of nostalgia and royalty, while also enhancing the store’s traditional Indian appeal.

The fabric section is envisioned as a clean and straight-lined space, with a minimal brass display and geometric paraquet flooring. The simple grid with angular floating glass shelves converts the fabrics displayed into art displays themselves, adding color to the room and making browsing easier. These brass shelves show the finesse of Indian craftsmanship with delicate wrapped serpent and brass chain knotted joinery details. A play of light, mirrored ceiling, and the brass shelving renders the wall with a unique play of light and shadow, amplifying the theatrical nature of the space, converting the act of shopping into art itself.

The saree section is defined by coarse granite counters, made from slab offcuts from an Indian quarry. A 30’ long custom designed brass light fixture and the raw offcuts of granite specially create a strong statement with their individuality and inimitable natural texture. A contemporary interpretation of handloom shuttles, formulates the hanging system for the garments on the other side.

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The bridal section is the furthermost section, fusing the beauty of a traditional Wedding altar – the ‘Vedi’, along with the nostalgia of an elaborate system of low floor seating, display and selling by the retailer. This section houses a vintage 150-year-old wooden arch installed along a wall made of salvaged roofing tiles. In between each arch are a set of drawers that store the sarees for sale, together creating a stunning background for a memorable retail experience. All the ducts in this space, as well as other services elsewhere, are also exclusively designed to seamlessly fit into the aesthetics of the space

These interior elements come together to create a silent yet dramatic environment that awe-spires the visitor. It is a nuanced design with innovative details, that is a celebration of the materials, the people and the sublimity of traditions alike.

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