Ksheer Sagar, Delhi, Climaire, Luxurious, Varanasi, Metropolitan city, Floor tiles, Traditional, Jaali motif, Wooden display, Indian motifs, Spiritual heritage, Religious spaces

Ksheer Sagar, designed by RMDK, travels from Varanasi to Delhi

Ravish Mehra Deepak Kalra (RMDK), an architecture studio based in New Delhi, designed the Delhi outpost of the leading chain of Indian sweets

Being a well-established and highly-trusted brand, originally housed within the busy lanes of the ancient city of Varanasi, Ksheer Sagar wanted to mark its presence as a heady mix of cultural and culinary heritage for its first outlet in a metropolitan city like Delhi. This called for strategic planning and design to create a modern, innovative and futuristic yet sustainable avatar.

Deeply rooted in heritage, the store is designed as an elegant indulgence of old-world charm. A wide array of materials, colours and textures have been nimbly translated into a humble yet luxurious ambience. A Varanasi-inspired analogous colour palette and use of naturally-sourced materials complement the products on display while also adding warmth and a homely comfort to the space. Ksheer Sagar truly celebrates the quirks of a luxurious international retail experience brought together in an Indian context to reflect the changing taste and face of a younger India.

The store is a contemporary interpretation of Varanasi’s rich architectural and spiritual heritage. Designed with the aim of recreating the sense of an experiential journey in and out of the inner sanctums of religious spaces, along with the joy of discovering hidden gems within the streets of Varanasi, the store is designed as a shop within a shop. There is a sleek floating display enclosure in coloured glass and brass created within the store to evoke the same sense of discovery and passage.

The traditional 'jaali' motif has been reinterpreted into a clean geometric pattern for the chic metal ceiling panel, adding a nostalgic touch within a modern context. The patterned floor tiles, also a derivative of traditional Indian motifs, highlight the feature display area to create a strong visual harmony by bringing out a strong contrast amongst otherwise very solid and minimal surfaces. The avant-garde light fixtures in beaten brass, along with the minimal brass display systems, are a throwback to the traditional vessels used in the ancient city of Varanasi.

The walls in exposed brickwork along with rough-cut wooden display and ceiling panelling create a unique, welcoming yet sombre ambience. The predominant colour palette of red and white further add a simple, yet bold streak of warmth to the interiors. The red colour is an interpretation of religious paraphernalia like 'kumkum' (vermillion) used in the ancient temples of Varanasi, while the white helps tone down and balance the intensity of red. The focus on the linearity, spaciousness and the seamless transition of each material, along with a perfectly controlled lighting spectrum, create a mutedly lavish and graceful retail experience.

Aimed at reimagining the brand’s heritage in a simple, contemporary language for a global appeal, Ksheer Sagar finds a perfect balance between the old and the new to create a rich new precedent in contemporary luxury.

Project name: Ksheer Sagar
Location: Delhi
Year of completion: 2017
Area: 2,070sq-ft
Project head: Aarushi Kalra
Team members: Soni Rawat
Photographer: Vibhor Yadav
Display & refrigeration: Climaire

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