Minnie Bhatt Design gives this traditional wood mart a modern makeover
The product remains the hero at the new store
Jalaram Timber being a well-known establishment, the brief given to Minnie Bhatt Design was very simple – the space had to visually reflect the ethos of the brand and its emphasis on quality, and showcase its largest range of veneers in the country.
“As the product was the hero, and the space was originally a warehouse, we gave it a subtle industrial personality,” explains Minnie Bhatt of Minnie Bhatt Design. The choice of finishing materials like exposed red bricks, unpolished limestone flooring, cement sheet ceilings and IPS flooring, were carefully picked so as to serve as a conducive backdrop to the vast range of veneers to be displayed.
The entire layout of the space was redesigned as per the science of Vastu. The floor plan and floor levels were planned to bear this in mind. The entrance of the establishment was designed with cement sheet wall panelling, and a wooden art installation was created, complemented with filament bulbs dropping down from the double-height roof of the entrance lobby.
Space had to have a contemporary appearance, yet adhering to the legacy of the brand. Therefore, a new reception/ sales counter was introduced, with a backdrop of the various products the brand retails. The images of these products were printed on a light veneer board. The passage wall is finished in red bricks with glass slots giving the client a peek into the showroom space.
The showroom area’s display racks were created with an element of black metal as seemingly suspended racks, which hold the sliding veneer display panels. The ceiling has cement sheet fins in random rhythm. There is a separate section for the live tree veneers, which are close to 10-12 ft in height. Also, a display has been created for decorative timbers that they retail in one corner of the space. These samples are displayed simply on large bolts jutting out of the wall, which can enable the client or salesperson to remove them to view or match with the veneers.
“As the variety they stock is very vast, we made display cabinets with trays to hold the maximum number of samples possible. For the flooring, we chose beige travertine, in its polished form, to complement all the veneer panels around,” says Bhatt.
The showroom space was extended and a section was created to display the wooden flooring retailed by the company. The display here is very simple – visually, giving an idea of their entire flooring range at a glance. The flooring of this section is poured cement, and the ceiling is created in cement sheets to retain a subtly industrial, yet finished charm.
The proprietor's cabin was planned with two doors – one leading to the showroom and the other to the staff area. The cabin resonates the personality of the owner, yet continues the aesthetic of the rest of the space. There is a red brick wall behind the large desk and a standalone library unit in red oak wood to house a collection of his books. A serene Buddha statue was placed above this to complete the visual.
The desktop is a walnut veneer, held on one end with a natural mahogany wood log. The flooring is engineered parquet wood. The space originally had no sunlight coming in, so cubic windows with sloped sills were created to allow the cabin to have some access to natural daylight. The lights suspended over the desk were imported, and pure brass fittings with a soft light diffuser to serve as a working light were included.
Overall, the design tells the brand’s story, yet elevates the space to provide a contemporary retail experience.