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Better Interiors - April 2020 issue

Subtle Brilliance

Gaurav Kharkar & Associates transform a humble square footage in Mumbai, into a sparkling modern diamond jewellery boutique for PJS Jewellers.

Compiled by: Alifiya Mehamdabadwala
Photographs: © 2017 Photographix | Sebastian + Ira; courtesy the architects

The facade instantly makes an impression. The architects have used the entire height of the store to create rectangular panels of veneer and chamfered glass. A niche for the jewellery display intersects with the stone block that hides the counter inside. The logo has been neatly engraved on the black back-painted glass.

When the owners of Paryani Jamnadas & Sons (PJS Jewellers) approached Gaurav Kharkar & Associates to design a diamond jewellery boutique in the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai, they came armed with a list of requirements including a showroom, back office area, strong room (a space designed to protect valuable items against fire and theft), washroom and pantry. The catch? They all needed to be accommodated in just 450 square feet of space. Gaurav and Vidhita, the principals at the firm took up the challenge intending to transform the bare space into a contemporary boutique with a simple yet impactful set-up.

After brainstorming, the team decided to divide the linear space into four distinct sections: a showroom, back office, strong room, washroom/pantry and a loft to store jewellery boxes. Seventy-five per cent of the available area was dedicated to the display. “When we conceptualized the decor of the boutique, we were determined not to settle for a cliched fusion decor. The idea was to lay emphasis on the display of the jewellery pieces and not have the surroundings overpowering them,” explains Gaurav.

The top of the display counter is finished in brown Statuario Italian marble and leather and equipped with three clear glass cut out units that display stunning jewellery.

In order to achieve the contemporary look the architects were gunning for, they designed and fabricated furniture, light fixtures, wall panelling and decorative elements to help showcase the jewellery in a one-of-kind environment. The overall height of the space proved beneficial in giving a spacious appearance to the boutique and increased the awe factor of the decor.

The facade of the boutique takes advantage of this height and creates a lasting impression on visitors. It is dominated by chamfered glass detail and random veneer patterns that smartly camouflage the door. A stone block here conceals the display table in the store with a prominent niche that showcases a piece of jewellery. “We have also used a black back-painted glass border on three sides with the logo of the boutique engraved at the front,” adds Vidhita.

On entering the boutique, one finds the cash counter to the right which continues as the display counter. The entire countertop is finished in brown statuario Italian marble with a leather finish. Three clear glass cut on the marble at equal intervals display the jewellery. A mirror panel at the end gives the illusion of an extended counter top and makes the area look bigger. The strong room falls on the rear side of this. A 30-inch wide aisle has been created for the staff to access the display cabinets with ease. These cabinets are finished in brown back-painted glass with clear glass in between that reveal the jewellery.

Two-seater sofas have been arranged in a symmetrical form such that each one backs a window-like panel that’s finished in veneer and mirror with a grey ribbed panel below.

Each panel has concealed handles and a thin grey rim. The wall opposite accommodates sofa seating. The back of each sofa has a panel created using veneer and mirror, similar to the facade, while a grey ribbed panel, also found on the ceiling, covers the lower side of this wall. Full height marble pillars hold bespoke alabaster lights with U-shaped MS rods.

Though there were challenges due to space constraints, architects Gaurav and Vidhita deftly overcame them to create a welcoming and modern jewellery showroom, which through the application of high quality materials and a neutral colour palette ensures the stunning pieces of jewellery retailed here remain the centre of attention.

To design a diamond jewellery boutique with a provision for a strong room, back office and a toilet and pantry, all within a limited area of 450 sq ft.

Flooring: Grey Italian marble
Walls: Brown statuario, white oak veneer, back painted glass
Ceiling: Cement grey paint

Project: PJS Exclusive Diamond Jewellery Boutique
Location: Bandra, Mumbai
Area: 450 sq ft
Principal architects: Gaurav Kharkar, Vidhita Kharkar