‘Ceramic Gallery’, a Portrayal of Design Exhibits, Integrated into the Design Fabric, by Intrinsic Design

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Project Credits:
Project Name: Ceramic Gallery
Architects: Intrinsic designs+StudioRK06
Design Team: Intrinsic Design (Found by Shivraj Patel and Shruti Malani) and Ramesh Lohar (Founder of StudioRK06)
Graphic Designer: Designsane (Kashyap Shah)
Location: Anand, Gujarat
Carpenters: Kalu bhai Mistry
Paint contractor: ShivKumar
Electrical Contractor: Habeeb bhai & Team
Lighting: Pepperfry & Sandy LED
Photography: Photographix|Sebastian+Ira

The Ceramic Gallery, situated in Anand, Gujarat, a city renowned for being the epicenter of the White Revolution in India, is a boutique, specifically to show case a unique collection of premium sanitary ware, tiling designs as well as bathroom fittings, sourced from India and internationally. While the clients have been contributing to the industry for a long time, a foray into business expansion led to the decision of creating more space in order to display their newest products, and the Ceramic Gallery was thus conceived. 

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Starting out with the design included working with a basic sketch of a property, which comprised of a floor plate which had eight different shops and the structural design was that of a typical column grid. When designing a space for showcase, convention dictates that there be large spaces, with plenty of open area and an array where all products would be displayed. However, the design was conceptualized to avoid the same. Basically, the intent was to create something that went along the lines of a concept called, ‘space within space’. Since the product caters to spaces within the house, the idea delved into an ensemble which would comprise of small scaled replications of the variety of spaces within a typical house, which would also be an asset with regard to letting customers understand and relate to the thought and functionality of the products within homes.

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Once conceptualized, the process was realized around the fact that the client, being a business man, proficient in his field and having been a part of the establishment for a long time, wished for creativity in the best sense, but without suggesting a compromise with the level of display and highlight the products should get. Moreover, it was understood that while the client and the design team would understand the connotations of a design that related to the product, the knowledge level of a customer would be assumed to be that of a novice. Moreover, the property at which the site is located at faces a state highway. Therefore, a large number of people pass by the site on a daily basis, and therefore it was determined that the most of such an opportunity be made, and the façade be designed so that it attract attention and therefore, invite more customers. 

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With the brief and intent so finalized, the design approach was made to modulate the entirety of the floor plan, an amalgamation of a total of eight shops, which comprise of three different spaces serving as lounge areas with display screens inclined, four representational mock sets of different types of bathrooms, a library and a bar table, along with the necessary reception and a cabin for the proprietors. The implementation has been so that each of the pockets have a different design and arrangement, thereby giving customers the opportunity to interpret their impacts and relate to their own spaces, imaging the products in according to their own preferences.

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In order to make the experience of the customers alluring as soon as they walk in, the entrance has been designed as a captivating alley as one crosses the threshold of the entrance, which then leads to a circulation passage, which then merges seamlessly as it meanders into the smaller, recreated spaces. The display has been designed to be presented along the flow of the path, and as one walks ahead, a sense of curiosity is incited, imploring one to walk further and explore. The design has ensured a balance with the passage itself acting as a connecting spine for all the space as well as a transitionary space which would be the connecting link, which would enable the spaces in between as well as the divisions fuse together into a unanimous whole.

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One of the concerns that the design had to adhere to was to ensure focus and highlight on the products displayed to the best possible extent. Therefore, using a background in a dark brown shade, would minimize any chances of attention being diverted from the products. Moreover, the lights have been so arranged that the products are kept in focus throughout. The ceiling as well as the services exposed and the fixtures for lighting have all been intentionally toned in dark shades, which would restrict visual connection beyond the eye level. Also, it was decided to use the various display products within the elements and the spaces of the boutique, to imply and relay the functionality of the products, for instance, in the different forms of flooring, or the perforated as well las cladding partitions or the furniture. There are some products in the display which are exhibited as an individual object, and their unique characteristics have been used to enhance the spatiality. 

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A natural advantage regarding material decisions came in the form of designing a showroom for tiles, as well as cladding products, which means that the materials opted for have been sourced from the portfolio of the client. Every section depicts different flooring, along with variation in the laying pattern. Moreover, this gives the opportunity to the customers to visualize their own space and understand the relevance of the product contextually. Vertically, panels were cladded with some of the exclusive designs of mosaic as well as cladding tiles.

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A major highlight of the project, that is, a key element would be the play of the various colours and textures which are employed in the design idea, which aid in avoiding monotony visually. In order to add the quality of neutrality in the face of the kaleidoscopic scenario, artificial as well as natural green planters have been introduced at certain places, so that visual tranquility is maintained.

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The existing column grid on the site, and transforming the space into the ideal design with their presence proved to be a certain challenge. However, the layout has been so designed with that they seem to be an intrinsic part of the circulation, an illusion perpetrated with photographs of passages adorning some of the columns. There are also other columns which have been decked with graphical posters as well as pictures, and all of them together portray a wholesome, harmonious picture of circulation.

While the architect did not have a precedent who set an example within the family, but due to his father being a DO in LIC of India, he had a number of clients who were in the profession of architecture. While listening to their stories from his father, his interest grew, and he delved into information regarding it since he was in Class Seven, believing it to be a profession prestigious, such as that of a doctor or an engineer.

Architectural education was, therefore, a natural step ahead, and being a dedicated and sincere student, he realized that during architectural school was a period when experiments in projects were more possible than any other time, and that creativity could be explored to the optimum level then.

16Shruti Malani 
17Shivraj Patel 
18Ramesh Lohar 

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– Devashree Vyas ,Volume Zero

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