Tuesday, July 23, 2024


Of personal symbols & colonial aesthetics

By Retail4Growth Bureau | September 28, 2021

Mrunalini Rao’s flagship  store in Hyderabad, designed by  Crafted Spaces is all about evoking nostalgia steeped in minimalist elegance.   

When Mrunalini Rao approached Hyderabad based design house Crafted Spaces to do her flagship store, there was instant resonance as the eponymous label, established in 2014, is all about blending tradition and modernity, much like the design philosophy of Crafted Spaces. Says Mitali Ahram, the designer at Crafted Spaces, “When Mrunalini approached me to do her new flagship store in Hyderabad, I was thrilled because I was well versed with her brand and much like my company’s motto, Mrunalini also weaves tradition blended with a modern aesthetic. Her clothing line follows a timeless aesthetic creating pieces that are at once contemporary but also worth cherishing for ages. The second exciting part of taking up this project was the site itself -an old house situated just off a busy main road. The site had a couple of big mango trees and seemed cut off despite being off the main road. Old houses have a charm that I love and I wanted to retain that old world charm in the design as well.”

As Mitali informs, the client wanted the design to be inspired by the colonial style, which seemed to fit perfectly with the old building. “Practising restraint in design was crucial and it was important to identify areas where we could add design elements where the clothes wouldn’t lose focus,” she adds.

The design team also created a new internal staircase connecting two levels and in the process created a seamless transition space devoid of clothing and serving as the reception area while being a façade element. For this, the team created a fabricated structure of 12’x27’ and connected it to the old slab. “This also allowed us to get a breakout space filled with light where the client got to display elements and details personal and meaningful to her,” says Mitali.

The marquetry pattern at the entrance and the double height jali is evolved from Mrunalini’s first collection. Interestingly, all the design elements have personal significance for the client, while adding the desired colonial aesthetics. The white rafters in the ceiling are a representation of wooden rafters in her ancestral village home and the colonial charm was brought in with the arched windows, louvers, white and black chequered flooring, terrazzo tiles, rustic pots and artifacts 

A huge collage of embroideries and patch works framed at the entrance represent the client work through the years. Another highlight is the hand prints of the store kaarigars and team framed on the staircase wall.  Other elements such as the hand crafted wooden birds on the wall in the pret line room, the Tree of Life near the waiting area, the Sanskrit Shloka engraving in brass on the stone wall in the bridal room, the inscription of Ruskin Bond saying behind the reception counter, are all part of the same personal journey for Mrunalini, while adding to the aesthetic value of the store space .



AREA : 3500 SFT, G+1



PMC : SpaceKrafts Designs, Riyaz Ahmed

DESIGN: Crafted Spaces

Lighting : Beyond Home Solutions, Mayank Minda

Furniture : Autumn Leaf

Landscaping : Peace lily

Artifacts : Room Therapy and One Dot 6


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