Studio Lotus designs Gaurav Gupta flagship store in New Delhi
Architecture and fashion combine to create a surrealist dreamscape for the renowned Indian fashion designer
Across the road from the historic Qutub Complex stands the flagship store for globally-acclaimed couturier Gaurav Gupta, a deconstructed maze-like dreamscape emblematic of the designer’s work. This new flagship store at Mehrauli – following premium outlets in Mumbai and Delhi – is the product of the enriching collaboration between the Gaurav Gupta brand and Studio Lotus. Embodying the unique artistic vision that Gupta possesses, the design for the flagship store draws from multiple and disparate sources of inspiration – be it the Dickensian townscape of 'Great Expectations' or fantastical motifs from European folklore.
The store premises consist of a single-story building located in one of India’s finest fashion districts. Delicate metal screens create the site enclosure, lined by a private garden. A nondescript rectangular floorplate becomes the shell within which a layered geometry of spaces has been crafted. An oblong central hall acts as the core of the outlet, opening up at multiple points into peripheral rooms. The rooms, varying in size and scale, house the different collections by the label; this distinction in function is enhanced by the specific visual expression of each space, which marks a subtle transition between the zones as one moves through them. These zones consist of bridal salon areas with changing rooms, the men’s collection room, and a discussion area set up with a dinner table – to name a few.
The spatial layout of the store subtly subverts the notion of direct sightlines. Carefully aligned doorways provide uninterrupted views across multiple zones, while narrow slivers in the walls offer glimpses from one space to another. The wide windows looking out at the garden and strategically-placed full-length mirrors create engaging backdrops for each fitting.
The tactile expression of the architecture combines a deconstructed aesthetic with a subdued colour palette, creating a space filled with monochromatic tones of grey to make for a suitable retail backdrop. Handcrafted mouldings and sculptures embellish the richly-textured plaster walls; details of sculpted cast metal animal forms in the display racks, furniture and accessories extend a narrative that ties all the zones together and makes this fantastical world come alive. Mirrors, framed artworks, suspended mannequins and dress forms have been curated to create visual focal points throughout the store. The wall openings have been chamfered with the geometry and their edges lined with mirrors to add a new dimension to the spatial illusion.
The beautiful Siras tree that stood on the site before construction commenced, has been retained and woven into the built fabric - now standing on the outer periphery of the central court; a prismatic glass sheath in a mild steel frame wraps around the trunk and culminates at the ceiling in the form of a skylight that floods the central space with natural light. The façade of the building, in line with the neighbouring development, bears distinct neo-classical influences, articulated with arched doors and windows. Aligned with these openings are the mild steel metal grille gates customised to form the highly recognisable swan motif as seen in the previous stores of the brand, to facilitate brand recall.