Earth-tone colors, geometric patterns, handwoven textiles – these are qualities of clothing unique to India, steeped in history and tradition. But when it came to designing an outpost for apparel retailer Bagh in Bengaluru, India, design firm FRDC (Future Research Design Co.; Bengaluru, India) honed in on these elements of tradition while celebrating the fast-paced, modern setting of today’s retail.
“Bagh offers Indian apparel in motifs deeply rooted in Indian crafts,” says Sanjay Agarwal, Co-Founder and Managing Director, FRDC. “Catering to Indian women who want to embrace Indian wear as their daily wardrobe, the range brings the best of Indian ethnicity and functional wear; and the space is crafted with natural and local materials that celebrate Indian craftsmanship in a contemporary way.”
Bagh’s interior oscillates between traditional Indian aesthetics and contemporary customer expectations. One main challenge FRDC encountered was incorporating the store’s immense inventory while maintaining a clean, curated design. They did this by dividing the store into zones and sub-zones, separated by delicate fabric screens, either side of which sat solid wood shelving. “This allowed us to accommodate all the merchandise by using different shelving elements in a way that offered a layered, not overwhelming, browsing experience,” says Agarwal.
Though more than simply practical, the screens themselves needed to uphold the same principles as the store’s entire blueprint – to feel local and traditional, with a contemporary twist. “It was a delicate balance that involved close oversight and coordination between various partners on the project, and took some time to achieve,” he says.
The sandstone flooring offers a contemporary touch with geometric details, playing again with the duality of past and present. Locally sourced grass-based crafts are used as touchpoints throughout the store, such as at checkout and in the store’s windows and dressing rooms. Handwoven fabric, known as khadi, is used as a visual backdrop throughout. Pendant lighting and wall mirrors finish off the interior design with a midcentury modern touch.
Bagh took five months to design, and it delicately balances those all-important design principles to elevate the store. “Design is a collaborative process,” says Agarwal. “Bagh’s design is a result of the collaboration where clients have a penchant for authentic materials and forgotten crafts practices. Reviving these in contemporary times plays a critical role in keeping these traditions alive in a fast, urbanizing society.” –Michael Woodson