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June 20, 2024

Lessons in designing a luxury store by 42mm Architecture’s Rudraksh Charan and Priyanka Khanna

Riddhi Doshi

This is, perhaps, one of the biggest challenges for most jewellers operating across crammed metro cities. How to show opulence and grandeur, the inherent characteristics associated with a luxury jewellery brand, in the small, available retail spaces?

The solution is in the design. And it’s crucial to get this right because a lot rides on how the customers feel in a space. It’s fascinating then to see how designers transform four walls into a shopper’s paradise. Here, we trace the journey of one such space – Sunita Shekhawat Emporio, an 800 sq ft high-end jewellery store in New Delhi, designed by 42mm Architecture, a multidisciplinary practice established by Founders Rudraksh Charan and Priyanka Khanna in 2005. The project also won The Institute of Interior Design award in the retail category in 2017.
Designing a retail space is different from doing up a home. A retail store is designed from the client’s customers’ perspective while a residence’s design considers an individual’s needs and aspirations. “It is important for the retail space to convey the brand’s journey and speciality to the customers. In a residential space the user is the protagonist, here the products take the limelight,” says Khanna.

And in a jewellery space, which stocks intricate pieces worth lakhs, striking the right balance between the design of the space and the products is all the more tricky. “In a jewellery store, the ambience should highlight the beauty of the jewels,” says Khanna. A neutral colour palette and customised lighting play an important role in lending the right amount of shine to the jewel.

“The lighting must be functionally sound to let customers inspect the jewellery pieces, and at the same time elaborate enough to attract the client to a product,” she adds.
Client’s brief
For Sunita Shekhawat Emporio’s second store in Delhi, the client wanted the space to reflect their market identity as Modern Meenakars (Meenakari is an intricate jewellery craft that flourished in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It entails colouring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing brilliant colours that
are decorated in an intricate design). The jeweller wanted her customers to experience the brand’s tag line ‘Crafted for Eternity’ the very moment they enter the space.

Another requirement was to show the brand and its fine craftsmanship’s connection with the city of Jaipur, but not restrict it to just that. Hence, the objective was to exude royalty and luxury through interior design. “We aspired to create an ambience that expresses the story of Jaipur and the art of Meenakari together,” says Khanna.

The layout The space, according to the client’s need, was roughly divided into visitor’s lounge, director’s cabin and sales area. The store is fabricated in stone to give a monolithic look that resembles Jaipur’s architectural vocabulary. The customers first enter a glass security cubicle, which is fashioned to give them a glance of the store. They are then directed to the main display area, which features a stone graphic wall adorned with an image of Jaipur’s historic Amer Fort. The graphic is generated using different sizes of flutes and chisels to achieve the involutes. The other walls too are finished in stone and framed bronze mirrors with stepped mouldings, creating a transitional backdrop
for the display units.

The design of the ceiling and the chandeliers has been derived from a lotus and conceived as a geometric representation. The chandeliers are finished in brass to add an elegant touch to the
interiors. As the design demanded concealed electric and other elements, the slot diffusers, light fixtures, sensors, speakers, etc. were hidden in a black linear cove. The light fixtures have been customised to achieve the perfect brass finish and match with
the furniture.
The track lights add to the minimal ornamentation of the store, drawing attention to the display units. Wall washers and grazers bring the desired contrast of light and shadow in the display area, enhancing the overall design. The flooring was designed with basic geometric shapes forming an intricate pattern to represent Meenakari art. The centre was highlighted with a carpet inlayed in a brass-finish mould,.

Almost after a year’s work, the project was completed in 2017 and the jeweller expressed a sense of satisfaction towards the overall design approach, which is a departure from the modern design of their other stores, says Khanna. Even the client’s customers have complimented them for a transitional experience
that transports one to the traditional and royal experience of Rajasthan’s palace.



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