Palladium is the stage for a new store, designed by Studio Pomegranate, for fashion designer Ritu Kumar. This store finds a space for itself on the third floor of the mall. Built on former mill land, this space has come to be one of Mumbai’s most coveted spots for retail, and is also one of the most successful. Studio pomegranate envisioned a space that would reference memories of the mill buildings prior to the new golden age of this land. The space itself was non-rectilinear and was large, but with a small frontage. The idea then would be to have an enclosure of walls, under a night sky with a dramatic sparkle of golden clouds, as one can find on a typical Bombay evening.
The store then was conceived of as an open space utilizing a neutral palette of white and shades of pale green and grey, all to foreground Kumar’s colourful garments. The interior space consists of polished seamless natural Kota stone. This stone was brought in a large 3′ square format, special care was taken at the quarry to ensure minimal colour variation so as to have a monolithic appearance. All edges are rounded and polished.
The walls are rounded at the edges, alluding to the ageless beauty of 1920s Bombay; they don a neutral textured finish. The sky drops down a fastening mechanism for brass rods on which the garments hang. As one walks through the store, printed fabrics greet the eye, these are 17th-century Indian Palampores that once were a highlight in bourgeois’ homes. Most of these are “Tree of life” motifs, two are court scenes and dance scenes from the Deccan.
The bridal area is again covered entirely in these fabrics, a large vanity is the centrepiece of the bridal salon. This tree of life pattern was used as a base for the shape of the clouds above. Cables hang down from the ceiling to hold in place the shapes that keep in place a golden mesh in which lights hide, and present a play of light and shade, as clouds do. Three glass orbs were sourced and hung off brass rods to light the billing desk. These elements put together are the backdrop for the garments that adorn the store’s racks. They are also a fragment of a style of building with detail and precision that is being rapidly lost in modern Indian building construction.
The studio appreciates the effort and energy put into this collaboration by Mrs and Mr Kumar who were supportive of our design strategy, and showed great faith in our skill as fellow designers and architects.
Project team: Pranav Naik, Shweta Shah, and Arjun Pathak
Location: Palladium, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Typology: Retail design