Advancing towards the Stepwell square in the old city of Jodhpur, India, one comes across the most prominent building of the JDH Urban Regeneration project. A minuscule and congested residence-turned-retail space, Forest Essentials at JDH is an adaptive reuse of a conventional old city structure.
With an intent to cause minimal damage to the existing built-mass, the traditional arched openings are strategically re-sized, supported by the introduction of a new aperture to bring a sense of balance and proportion to the elevation. The northern facade is masked in COR-TEN steel which corresponds to colour and texture of the regional Red Sandstone. The metal is consciously selected because of its ability to change its appearance with time, allowing the building to respond to the changing weather conditions and environment. A Brazilian flame creeper rising up the facade adds a contrast to the metal scrim.
The Forest Essentials retail outlet represents Art-Deco in a contemporary chic by exaggerating colour schemes and proportions. The interiors are covered in a pastel green colour which happens to belong to the brand’s festive catalogue. The design scheme re-introduces brass and gold which are inherent to Art-Deco and associated with the traditional interior finishes of Jodhpur.
The system of product display is more of an apparition than merely a display mechanism. With the ability of being physically manoeuvrable the display becomes more interactive than a regular shelving system. Painted in gold the mechanism captures attention in a backdrop of pastel green.
The floor conceived in hand-cut and wax polished linoleum, is an adaptation of an old mosaic inspired flooring pattern with the introduction of brass accents breaking the floor into modules. The dramatic golden spiral staircase beckons you to the upper floor of the retail outlet.
Furniture is also a contemporary take on the Art-Deco kitsch, the use of velvet and suedes brings a plush feel to the space. The furniture luxuriously uses brass and gold for its structural frames. The custom-made technical track lights sculpted in brass, boasting of a retro and vintage aesthetic are also a manifestation of a bygone era. The branding and signage on the show windows make use of the age-old vernacular gold painting techniques of walled city of Jodhpur.
Comprehensively, the retail space is a consequence of an adaptation of Art-Deco and a critical analysis of opulent regional elements, that speak about the rich built heritage of Jodhpur. The retail outlet is meant to establish an interface between the tourists (visiting the old city of Jodhpur) and the brand, as well as introducing them to the built construction heritage of Jodhpur.