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Her Story creates a “Gallery of Moods” in the heart of Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda

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Her Story, the high end luxury jewellery label enlists Parisian architecture firm RDAI to design a contemplative, textured and art-filled flagship store in Mumbai.

“I am seen in many ways, known for many things, but in this world, I have a true reflection of my soul. I tell a story that is all mine.” So goes the siren’s call of the modern Indian woman, the enigmatic persona that presides over the palette of homegrown luxury design brand Her Story. The fine jewellery label was born out of a desire to honour tradition while simultaneously making its mark on the global design landscape. As it opens doors to a spanking new flagship store in Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda arts district, Her Story is all set to redefine how Indians buy jewellery.

As a rule, Her Story forgoes traditional jewellery sets in favour of design collections, each of which represents an idea or emotion relating to the persona of the modern woman. “We begin and end with the consumer, and the product is only a part of their journey,” says Her Story brand’s creative director Sitanshi Talati-Parikh, “The collection, not the product, is the hero of the space.”

To transform this idea into a physical space, Her Story enlisted the architectural expertise of Paris-based architecture firm RDAI, best known for their design for Hermès Cadogan in London, Hermès Liat Tower in Singapore, and the Galeries Lafayette Haussman in Paris. RDAI responded to the brief with the concept of a “Gallery of Moods,” or a spatial journey that allows visitors to engage with each of Her Story’s collection concepts in an intimate, nuanced way. The layout is designed as an “organic promenade”, which carries the visitor through a series of curved alcoves, each expressed through a unique finish. “Playing with an organic layout and creating alcoves, which the client could discover as they moved throughout the space, was a way for us to create rhythm and integrate the extremely detailed scale of jewellery within the larger scale of the architectural design,” explains interior architect Johan Thuillot.

The tonality of the space is fairly muted, characterised by monochromatic mineral finishes. “In order that the architecture did not compete with the jewellery for attention we  employed different finishes in subtle tones: sometimes almost tone-on-tone, sometimes with accent, but always evocative of the architectural concept and brand values and sensibility,” says RDAI Managing Director, Julia Capp. The material concept emerges from the philosophy of the five elements–earth, fire, wood, metal and water–each of which represents an aspect of the human psyche. 

Each alcove is anchored by a different material palette, so every section allows visitors to immerse themselves in a different textural experience.

What promises to make the Her Story flagship store at Kala Ghoda a truly memorable experience, however, are the artworks on display, which range from abstract art and photography, to a thoughtful curation of books and etchings in the spaces, elements and window displays. The facade window displays and the curated window displays were custom-created over the course of eight months as a collage of details in various mediums. The facade window captures all the ideas together, while each display inside showcases individual Her Story collections. 

Textile artist Hansika Sharma has created a stunning tapestry of zari, resham, cotton thread, gold cord and beads on a cotton-linen base, offering her own artistic interpretation of the facets of the modern woman that the Her Story collections are inspired by. Moreover, Gujarat-based studio Shed has created a wall to showcase the savoir faire journey of a collection out of magnetic modular wood elements, marquetry inlay, mirrors and inset digital screens. RDAI also created bespoke furniture for the project, including coffee tables, high jewellery display units with “reveal” elements including magnifying windows, side tables, and fabric embroidered or woven with the brand’s signature pattern. Other furniture and decor objects from notable international brands like Demuro Das, Marelli, Gubi and Moroso populate the landscape with neutral tones, sinuous curves and organic flourishes.

As a final artistic flourish, RDAI converted Her Story’s brand identity poem into a binary pattern, inspired by the traditional art of Kolam. The poem weaves through the very fabric of the store’s architecture: sometimes embroidered, other times engraved or inlaid. “This has become the Her Story motif,” says Talati-Parikh, “It has become integral to the brand ethos; it speaks of identity of our muse—the modern woman, while simultaneously being a part of the brand DNA.”

Indeed, the poem itself is a reflection of the spirit of the Indian woman; the Kolam design is a celebration of the brand’s roots in Indian tradition; the binary replication is symbolic of Her Story’s eye towards the future. “The industry has slowly but surely been moving towards an expressiveness of individuality and personality rather than a societal ideal or family legacy,” muses Talati-Parikh. “You fall in love with something because it expresses something for you, whether it is your personal sense of style, who you are or how you wish to be perceived. So we have a different definition for what is precious–something is precious because it is meaningful to you.”

Courtesy: Architectural Digest

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