Text description provided by the architects. Nestled in a corner, on the ground floor of a Victorian Era building in Ballard Estate, ‘The Revival Project’ speaks of a desire to recover and respect the past - an ode to architectural heritage in Mumbai. The brand – a furniture retail outlet - sought to relocate from their existing setup to a new store that would be conducive to their sensibilities, as furniture designers, art connoisseurs and deep admirers of architecture and heritage of the city.
The space was acquired with a large double heighted open floor plate, interjected by a low height mezzanine, boarded arched fenestrations and devoid of a connect with the street.
In order to make the space habitable the windows were opened up, the partitions removed, and necessary retrofitting was carried out to ensure structural stability. The frontage on the other hand was designed to not only entice visitors but also activate the street by virtually acting as an extension of the pavement outside – through the wood and glass vestibule jutting inwards and allowing elements of the store to percolate out.
While a hierarchy of spaces exists, a conscious effort was made for it to be kept to a bare minimum – spaces flow into each other with transitions highlighted either by way of textural and tonal variations in materials or semi-permeable partitions. A screen below the mezzanine segregates the retail space in two, suggesting a division. The cement board partition acts as a backdrop for art and furniture as well as permeates visual access to and from the entrance of the store by way of louvers.
A staircase leads up to the mezzanine level which is reserved as the workspace for the in - house design team. The steel girders act as clear demarcations between the three bays – a store room & dining area, the workspace and the huddle area that establishes a connect with the store below. While the mezzanine has been designed with the team in mind, the semi-public zone also hosts furniture and art, encouraging the presence of the retail space on top.
Respecting the textures of exposed brick, existing wood and metal, the introduction of new materials has been kept to a bare minimum. This further helps to accentuate the teak wood furniture pieces by providing backdrops and frames to highlight and showcase the same.
The design speaks of simplicity and transparency – an effort to bridge the gap between the architecture and the product. While Ballard Estate exudes a sense of grandeur, the precinct has lost its sheen over the years. Most buildings – though in exemplary condition - lie vacant and abandoned. However, recent developments and infrastructure projects validate the desire to occupy spaces within the district.
By activating an otherwise desolate corner in Ballard Estate, the store seeks to encourage businesses to invest in re-using and restoring heritage structures within the precinct rather than focusing solely on the ‘new’.