By Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy the architect
Despite being flanked by prominent garment and jewellery stores in an upscale shopping district of Bhelupur, Benaras, designer boutique Gazal’s Panache stands out for its striking monochromatic palette, interior detailing and lattice-work referencing the famous Benarasi weave, albeit in a contemporary avatar…
A glass facade for maximum visibility and a two-floor high corner window display with striking gold jaali-work instantaneously catches the eye of the discerning shopper. Art Deco elements accomplish a marriage of contemporaneity and Indian rootedness in a high-end space defined by prêt and couture collections.
Sameer Balvally and Shilpa Jain Balvally, principals, Studio Osmosis have beautifully planned the 2,100 sq ft rectangular floor plate spread over two levels with a smartly compartmentalized display, subtly defining different zones via the ceiling and flooring – eschewing the need for physical partitions.
The display is custom-designed with just one striking ceiling-hung, singular chrome-plated multiple steel tube installation designed at varying heights and levels to suit different clothing types. Latticed screens add to the display and zoning options; while certain custom units can be moved around to augment the choice of display.
On similar lines, the continuous black mirrored ceiling runs from the entrance right through the store defining the major circulation areas as do the grey matt-finished vitrified tiles on the floor indicating the main circulation and designer areas, whilst the glossy white Satvario flooring demarcates various clothing zones. For example, prêt labels are kept upfront, which are frequently changed as per seasonal trends; while the premium range like bridal and couture wear are zoned at the back to ensure personal attention to the customer.
Being a high-end store, select storage requirements are carved out but only for the prêt line as couture wear prides itself on being one-of-a-kind. Cove lighting completes the monochrome dynamism with a touch of warmth, gradually acclimatizing the customer to the ambience and the wares.
The Balvallys’ endorse their design acumen by opting for an open, custom-designed metallic charisma instead of the regular shop-fit; the monochromatic dynamism and art deco style, a perfect foil to the ethnic and Indo-western wear, truly characterizing the Gazal flagship.