Kiara is a retail store, essentially tagging along the category of commercial spaces, and existentially speaking a language not only of trade but also of the inherent value of art. The space is conceived to be a coherent body that calls attention to the variety of exhibits and the craftsmanship behind it.
Project Name: Kiara Lights, Furniture, Curios
Office Name: Deearth Architects
Office Website: www.deearth.com
Firm Location: Calicut, Kerala, India
Completion Year: 2020
Gross Built Area (m2/ ft2): 3800 sq.ft
Project location: Calicut, kerala, India
Lead Architects: Ar. Vivek PP Ar. Nishan M
Photo Credits: Prasanth Mohan
More than a business to customer platform, the concept is to bring to Kozhikode and Kerala by large, the craft of designers from all over India and provide to our people an exposure towards exclusive designer made products. Set in a commercial hub of the city, Kiara stands apart from the extroverted transparent commercial buildings, luring public to come inside and explore.
Congruous with its name, the designer light boutique in Calicut situated on the cusp of a rural- urban context, specifically on the perpendicular intersection of an uncultivated field complementing a busy city road, faces west with only a threshold to vision. The opaque transparency intrigues a passer-by to give a thought on what could be behind. When the building is encountered, the transition from outside to inside is paused for a fraction of time in an interstitial breathing space and there the act of approach from the city’s hustle is deliberately delayed with a buffer. The jali wall parallel to road and tangential to the solid wall of the building veils the introverted landscape paving a personal way in, within a public domain.
The opening space is large with a visual division. The breadth of the area extends beyond the walls to touch the earth, creating a porous north- south axis. The rigidity of a compound wall is replaced with the permeability of a jali enclosure, stretching the eye to fields further away. Here the void provides not just a device of looking out, but also looking in. The tropical gardens break the mundaneness of a commonplace retail store, making it more of a gallery of exhibits. The exhibit spaces are conceived as flexible spaces that are subjected to change from season to season. The predominant greys of the colour palette on the leather finish kota, cement polished/ oxide walls, paneled cement boards and exposed concrete ceiling along with blue oxide, untreated wood and exposed terracotta highlights set a unanimously imperceptible backdrop for the changing furniture, curios and lights of all kinds.
The stairway instead lingers around memory as a vibrant transition, characteristic of the bright perforated metal hand rail opposed to the bold blue oxide wall. The cantilevered edge of the first floor is aligned to the jali wall beneath, creating a discrete triangular exhibit space with sumptuous inflow of natural light. The sharpness of this natural light is controlled inside the main exhibit space by means of a plywood screen, where the homogenous light is sieved, forming long patterned shadows, especially in the western sun. The second floor however is semi open with terracotta tiled flooring and cement board panelled ceiling on the pitched roof, catering a large empty space, essentially for events.
The architecture is sensualised by the use of materials, raw as it is, celebrating its veracities and imperfection. One finds an urge to touch the surfaces of objects as well as the skin of the built. The stimuli to the haptic senses and its vulnerability to the dimension of time through materiality and texture, gives the architecture a life like quality.
In spite of being a commercial space, the building enfolds a series of experiences, more than the architecture of the exterior. The art of approach, looking in, looking out, moving through, pausing and moving again is articulated, framed, separated and united. The subjects to be looked at, the lights on the ceiling, the curios on shelves/ walls, coffee tables, chairs are all emphasized simultaneously in the sub conscious process of passing through.