In today’s time with technology, spaces and crafts are getting redundant. We are looking on screens to be touched and moved. But if we look for real in the virtual, how are we going to ever find it? Online stores with the pace and ease it offers, may become a way of life from just a fad, slowly taking away one from the experience a place offers. Crafts come with a long history of being endangered with the coming of industrial age and then again being revived. In that process many crafts got their importance back, but crafts like paper making are still undermined, and its potential is not extracted or explored by many.
Hence a need for space that celebrates such a craft and generates a user experience that still keeps the idea of retail (through spaces) alive. As paper, the space shall unfold to reveal something new…intuitive yet calculated.
Designer: Priyanka Shah
Location: Block C, Mondeal Retail Park SG Highway, Ahmedabad
Zhi, the retail store: for handmade paper products is conceptualised to manifest the characteristic properties of paper through different materials and forms. Paper is a planar surface, where cutting and folding helps in transforming it into the third dimension, with every action revealing different layer. The elements of the interior space emerge out of the same objective. The inside reflects into the two shop fronts as dynamic extruded facets, drawing attention by its stark contrast with the orthogonality and materiality of the existing site. The spaces are branched, with each leading into multiple sub-spaces, progressively revealing itself as one moves around. The interior elements are such that the negative directs the person through the volumes.
The existing facade made from exposed concrete has a very strong architectural language, facets as a reflection of the interior breaks that language by its form and orientation and moves in to draw the attention of the passerby. The cut outs in the facade create a sense of intrigue, giving away only little of what is in the store to the passer- by. The store name -Zhi, meaning paper emerges out of the same facets and the language continues through the store, creating display elements, ceiling panels, furniture, partitions and the staircase.
The idea of the store Zhi is to create an experience by the space and also by the program. This retail outlet is designed not only to sell paper products but also to hold workshops, allowing people to experience the material by themselves, exhibitions, exhibiting the history and the potential of the material, display area for crafts people where the user can be the spectator of the efforts that go into making, work areas for designer, for the client to be able to interact directly and hence get a product tailor made to their needs and desires. This space is aimed to touch on the intangible aspects and make the user see the craft so undermined, with awe.
What we take for granted is taken away.
Short section of the retail store cutting through the entrance, gives a glimpse of the high end product display, furniture products, designer working and client meeting area. The staircase overlooks the workshop area and the railing transforms into the display element of the workshop area.
Display area continues from the ground floor to near the designer’s office area exhibiting his work on the first floor.
A strong white colour palette of display enhances the multicoloured products, while translucent materials like backlit marble and corian highlight each product as an entity. The furniture is in various colours, so are the products and workshop walls, thus making the space lively and responsive.
Zhi is an attempt to reinvent contemporary retail to add more value through services, experience and design.