Text | Maria Aslam
Visuals | Noman M. Faruqi
Interior design is intricate and exploitative in its nature of works. Seemingly understated at times with architecture, the design forays have to be stretched to incorporate varied design manipulations in the ambit of interior design. A stand-alone retail design incorporates the design working where the boundaries of architecture and interior design blur, converging in a design methodology of seamless flow of a rendition of space from outside to inside. Brand like Khaadi that stands apart in Pakistan and the region in the retail district not just with its product range and diversity but also due to its intricate and explicable detail to design of their spaces; continues in reinventing the brand ideology especially through design.
One of the foremost leaders that changed the appearance of apparel display, Khaadi brand is synonymous in the country with unparalleled interior spaces of their outlets be it Khaadi, Khaadi Khaas, Khaadi Home and the latest oeuvre Chapter 2. From its inception it never was just a display of product with an intention to sell but was super conscious of their spaces, the ambiance that was created and the aesthetics of interiors and light that was an integral element of the commercial spaces.
This giant of a design house is also at times challenged when a retail spot is identified in the middle of nowhere, giving no cues for design inspiration. The emphasis on signage, entrance and the design vocabulary that Khaadi has evolved over the years reinvents the façade that the outlet is home to. The brand has under its umbrella launched Chapter 2, an understated design wear apparel that is minimalistic, monotone and addresses the coterie of the contemporary working females. The entrance, as one walks in unveils a wall installation, that is engaging yet ambiguous that can lead to any product. The scintillating artwork travels along the corridor that ends at the reception table, waterbody and stairwell. A manipulated creation of space that engages the person to take that extra step out of curiosity and land in the realm of product range. It is a challenge always to maneuver the client to a below grade level where the product is displayed. This was the major challenge in the design of this particular outlet as well, since the space was not contingent for any display due to space constraints at entry level.
The façade manipulation is warm and welcoming with its trellised window and glass openings, that allow for glimpses of the interior spaces. The ramp gradually takes one to the entry level amongst dense foliage. The entrance corridor opens up to this maze of art installation of geometric patterns that emerge from the static wall to a ceiling hung art installation deflecting light and shadows of imagery further enhanced with the play of interior lighting. The reflections and the dappling effect the installation with the water body and filtered light cast shadows that reverberates in a play of light and shadow that keeps one engaged as one arrives to the threshold of the actual display.
The interiors are dark, monotone within a neutral palette of gray tones. The monochromatic material and offset walls highlight the product colour in sharp contrast. The apparel stands out and is instantly inviting and eye-catching as one moves from the articulation of the entrance portal towards the metal stairwell that pans out the lower level with the product range, display and commercial zone. The display setup is minimal yet designed without the generic hanging and stacking modes. The furniture supporting the product are a semblance of a whole, and are atypical pieces carved out of the geometric art installation. The space is a combination of one design theory that transmits itself to surfaces, furniture, light and beyond. It cleverly and creatively succeeds in capturing its retail client from the street level to a below grade display. A strategic marketing move that is spearheaded with design and the engaging power of interior design.