The Gaurang Store project designed by ‘The Works Interiors’ is an outstanding example for cohesively refurbishing furniture, upcycling pieces, reusing materials and respecting the environment in order to celebrate traditional Indian art and culture.
Hand-woven textiles have always been a part of India’s tradition. However, with the arrival of power looms, the heritage of the handloom sector suffered drastically. As India’s fashion industry moved towards cheaper, machine-powered textiles, weavers found themselves out of employment. Giving a ray of hope to these weavers, and re-establishing hand-woven pieces in the mainstream fashion, the client, a pioneer heirloom revivalist and founder of the fashion brand Gaurang, expanded his pan-India presence within the precincts of Delhi, and the Gaurang store’s spatial arrangement and design were grounded with the intention of celebrating the traditional heritage.
Conscious of the importance of a minimal environmental impact both in his work and his overall design ideology, the client, together with the architectural team, crafted a space that manifested a modern expression along with traditional materials and craftsmanship. The team consciously invested in heirloom pieces picked from vintage stores and refurbished them in the new Gaurang store, and when they moved, they reused every single piece in the new space, either as is or after refurbishing it a little; grounding their design intent in sustainability.
Located in a quaint neighbourhood in Delhi, the retail space is a spatial representation of his brand values and approach to authentic Indian design. The label invigorates traditional weaving techniques of India from different states, marrying vivid techniques to manifest a grand assemblage of sarees and Indian clothing that are a testimony of the time-honoured culture of weaving.
Translating this distinct design ideology spatially through the interior scheme, the large expansive 2000sq ft of the store opts for an open plan. It is broken down into smaller sections by means of a range of modular/flexible display units and furniture placement that enables a free flow of movement and vision. The design vocabulary borrows significantly from the brand’s identity and uses various ecologically conscious techniques to focus on the star apparel– the art of heirloom textiles. While building the luxe space, the overall approach remains environmentally sustainable by reusing vintage furniture pieces and reclaimed wood and, socially, promoting local artisans and their crafts.
The overall palette of the space is subdued with warm wooden floors, heirloom wooden furniture pieces and white ceilings. Adding charisma to the ceiling are the wooden logs with mounted spotlights that illuminate the space and change the ambience altogether.
Upon entering, a rich selection of heirloom weaves on display takes the centre stage. Gradually experiencing the space, a set of pre-owned, wooden heirloom furniture pieces welcomes the patrons into a cosy personal setting designed for small groups. Beautifully painted walls along with distinct seating clusters allow the shoppers to select the artworks of textile in comfort and privacy. Highlighting these are the glorious hand-painted walls with kalamkari artwork on them. As a means of reflection of the designers’ sustainable approach and consciousness towards Indian art and craft, kalamkari artists were flown in from South India to paint the wall instinctively with marker pens. Kalamkari, where the kalam is a pen and kari means art, is a traditional style of hand-painting on textiles. The walls have portrayals of the natural habitat that include forests, animals, birds and scenes from the Mahabharata.
Adhering to an intrinsic approach to sustainable design, the furniture pieces have been refurbished from heirloom pieces. For example, traditional wooden charpais are refurbished with reflective mirrors on top to function as centre tables in the waiting area. In contrast, another set has been made by upcycling the wheels of a cycle as the table’s legs, mounted by wooden tops. The mirrors have intricately carved, tradition-inspired floral designs in the wooden frames, and even the wall-mounted cloth display fixtures made in oak wood have been crafted with a vintage finish. One cluster of sofas by the entrance displays unique industrial aesthetics with printed brown upholstery highlighting the rivets along the edges. Another set on the inside adorns an upholstery with ethnic motifs. While these furniture pieces explore varied aesthetic moments, they are designed for uncompromised comfort.
Incorporating the exquisite range of fabrics in the interiors, the main door and the collapsible partitions of the store display stunning heritage fabric pieces sandwiched between glass panels. These are heirloom pieces, showcasing the cultural context and history tied together with the design intent while acting as a subtle metaphor of time. In addition, beautiful hand-woven rugs from FabIndia in vibrant Indian colours and contemporary patterns bind the layout together. All these furniture pieces– the tables, the partitions, the display units and the sofas (with changed upholstery) have been sourced from Adhbuta and reused in the new store, setting an outstanding example for cohesively refurbishing furniture, upcycling pieces, reusing materials and respecting the environment in order to celebrate traditional Indian art and culture. The Gaurang Store is a visual treat with a sensitized and holistic approach to space and apparel design.
Photo credit: Amit Mehra
Project: Gaurang Store, New Delhi
Architects: Devika Khosla; The Works Interiors
Design team: Devika & Raj Khosla
Site area: 2000 sq.ft.
Year of completion: 2021
Devika Khosla is Creative Director at The Works Interiors (TWI), an award-winning bespoke interior and furniture design practice based in NCR. Established in 1998 with Managing Director Raj Khosla, TWI has since been a pioneer in visionary interior design, blending rich craftsmanship and functionality to create timeless designs. With over 25 years of experience in interior design, her design sensibility seeks to push the boundary beyond conventional design and notions of luxury, towards sustainable design that stands the test of time.