Deearth Architects Blends Art, Design and Experiential Spaces in This Retail Store in Kerala


The creative design team of Kerala-based architecture firm- Deearth Architects - redefines the idea of conventional commercial spaces with this innovative retail store in Kerala. Set in a commercial hub of the city, ‘Kiara’ stands apart from the extroverted transparent commercial buildings, luring the public to come inside and explore. The retail store comprises more than a commercial experience and existentially speaks a language not only of trade but also of the inherent value of art. Merging the retail, art, and experimentation spaces nicely, the store features the use of raw materials celebrating its veracities and imperfection and urges the passersby to touch the surfaces of objects as well as the skin of the built. The design team has shared detailed info about the project with SURFACES REPORTER (SR). Take a look: 

Also Read: Aditi Sharma Designed An Experiential Store For Tilfi Banaras, Inspired by the City’s Impressive History In Textile Weaving | Varanasi

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterEssentially tagging along with the category of commercial spaces, this design boutique is conceived to be a coherent body that calls attention to the variety of exhibits and the craftsmanship behind it.

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterMore than a business-to-customer platform, the concept is to bring to Kozhikode and Kerala by large, the craft of designers from all over India and provide to our people exposure towards exclusive designer-made products. 

The Built Encourages Passer-by to Visit Inside

Congruous with its name, the designer light boutique in Calicut situated on the cusp of a rural-urban context, specifically on the perpendicular intersection of an uncultivated field complementing a busy city road, faces west with only a threshold to vision.

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterThe opaque transparency intrigues a passer-by to give a thought on what could be behind. When the building is encountered, the transition from outside to inside is paused for a fraction of time in an interstitial breathing space and there the act of approach from the city’s hustle is deliberately delayed with a buffer.
KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterThe jali wall parallel to the road and tangential to the solid wall of the building veils the introverted landscape paving a personal way in, within a public domain.

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterThe opening space is large with a visual division. The breadth of the area extends beyond the walls to touch the earth, creating a porous north-south axis. The rigidity of a compound wall is replaced with the permeability of a jali enclosure, stretching the eye to fields further away. Here the void provides not just a device of looking out but also looking in. 

Flexible Exhibit Spaces

The tropical gardens break the mundaneness of a commonplace retail store, making it more of a gallery of exhibits. The exhibit spaces are conceived as flexible spaces that are subjected to change from season to season.

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterThe predominant greys of the colour palette on the leather finish Kota, cement polished/ oxide walls, paneled cement boards and exposed concrete ceiling along with blue oxide, untreated wood and exposed terracotta highlights set a unanimously imperceptible backdrop for the changing furniture, curios and lights of all kinds.

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterThe stairway instead lingers around memory as a vibrant transition, characteristic of the bright perforated metal handrail opposed to the bold blue oxide wall. The cantilevered edge of the first floor is aligned to the jali wall beneath, creating a discrete triangular exhibit space with a sumptuous inflow of natural light. 

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterThe sharpness of this natural light is controlled inside the main exhibit space employing a plywood screen, where the homogenous light is sieved, forming long patterned shadows, especially in the western sun. 

Second Floor Contains A Large Space For Events

The second floor however is semi-open with terracotta tiled flooring and cement board panelled ceiling on the pitched roof, catering a large space, essentially for events. 

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterAlso Read: Sync Design Studio Creates Covid-Responsive Gourmet Retail Store in Ludhiana | SuperMarche

Use of Raw Materials

The architecture is sensualised by the use of materials, raw as it is, celebrating its veracities and imperfection. One finds an urge to touch the surfaces of objects as well as the skin of the built. The stimuli to the haptic senses and its vulnerability to the dimension of time through materiality and texture, give the architecture a life-like quality.

KIARA_Deearth_Surfaces-ReporterDespite being a commercial space, the building enfolds a series of experiences, more than the architecture of the exterior. The art of approach, looking in, looking out, moving through, pausing, and moving again is articulated, framed, separated and united. The subjects to be looked at, the lights on the ceiling, the curios on shelves/ walls, coffee tables, chairs are all emphasized simultaneously in the subconscious process of passing through. 

Project Details

Project Name: Kiara Lights, Furniture, Curios
Office Name: Deearth Architects
Firm Location: Calicut, Kerala, India
Completion Year: 2020
Gross Built Area (m2/ ft2): 3800 sq.ft
Project Location: Calicut, Kerala, India
Lead Architects: Ar. Vivek PP Ar. Nishan M
Photo Credits: Prasanth Mohan

About the Firm

De earth is a design practice based at Calicut, Kerala with a young professional team of Architects, Urban Designers, Engineers & Social thinkers working towards nature-inclusive & contextually responsive designs with a vision of making a greener & better tomorrow. The key project expertise includes single-family homes, eco-responsive housing projects, specialized hospitality ventures, hospitals & urban spaces.

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