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Opulent design for Ambala Jewellery store

Photography: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

New Delhi-based GroupDCA designed the S.S. Jewellers in Ambala, which is an immersive boutique jewellery store. The military garrison and cantonment city since pre-Independence India, Ambala is known for its colonial and pre-colonial architecture. The firm closely studied and interpreted the location’s architectural history when designing the store spanning 3600 sq. ft., and engaged local craftsmen to create the design. As a heritage brand associated with Ambala’s legacy, the store blends opulent architecture in a contemporary manner.

The venue is part of a larger open-air mall, an urban renewal exercise that allows the inhabitants of the city to become an active part of the intervention while indulging in retail services. The levels comprising the store encompass the primary display and shopping areas, back-end operations, storage, and kaarigar workshops. The lower floor houses contemporary jewelry collections, while the upper room makes space for boutique jewelry with exclusive lounges. The basement functions as an operational center, housing the workshop and inventory storage.

The storefront has a minimalist black and gold façade, with two show windows flanking the entryway. Intricate floral wallpaper creates a pre-foyer by recessing the main entrance, allowing the patron to be acquainted with the design vocabulary indoors. The firm found it challenging to establish a structural connection between the ground and first floor and retrofit the expanse for a unified design scheme.

Two identical circular openings are created between the floors, and the lift and staircase are additionally incorporated. The stairwell is lined with burgundy fabric-clad panels against the brass and black marble staircase, followed by the upper floor walls and vaulted ceilings in wallpapered sections.

A set of three vaults sweep overhead on both levels of the store, visually dividing the area and rendering a geometric identity. Stark black aluminum columns under the vaults are assembled at the site comprising a three-portion framework. Trims and rings are strategically planned at the junction of these segments, which is a modern-day homage to the classic order of columns. Two circular cut-outs are built on symmetry and are lined with gilded wood-framed Victorian-styled mirrors in the double-height space allowing one a glimpse of the higher floor. Candelabra-style glass-cut chandeliers made by a Patiala-based artist cascade through these newly created apertures, imbuing the space with grandeur.

The layout’s central portion is dominated by fluted oak and glass display vitrines, and the perimeter is lined by display counters and plush seating for patrons. Monochrome marble flooring is conceptualized as sleek geometric patterns interspersed with brass inlay. White and grey marble varieties are used to create the flooring.

Bespoke furniture and surface treatments adhere to the space’s vision, creating an elevated identity using tan browns, maroons, and deep blues. Quintessential features such as traditional cornices, sculptural columns, arches, and metallic finishes are incorporated into the designed space.