Building Materials Interiors Retail design

Studio Ardete designs shop interiors in Indian city with twisting plywood ribbons to showcase craftsmanship

July 13, 2020

Studio Ardete, led by architects Badrinath Kaleru and Prerna Kaleru, and assisted by Nisha Singh Sarao and Palak Puri, has designed the shop interiors of a 134m² plywood store in the Indian city of Chandigarh. The space measuring 71’ by 18’ linear block in a market complex of the Le Corbusier-designed city showcases the traditional relationship between the craftsman and wood. The result is a poetic interior-installation –  a “spatial matrix” that has evocative ribbons of wood twisting and turning within the space with a free fluidity.

Due to the availability of new engineered materials, the dialogue between a carpenter and wood products has diminished. This installation addresses this concern –  an elemental ribbon that can be the subject of a conversation while being a facilitator of the same.

The fluidity of the design in this single-room space feeds a very primal, functional role in the way that these poetic wooden ribbons turn into display shelves, seating spaces, and meeting areas, among others. This “art landscape”, as the architects call it, is made up of light oak veneer and is held together by black metal bars. The limitlessness of this design manifests in its ability to blur the boundaries between the static, the movable, and the art in-and-on these components of the built space.

The ribbons were digitally fabricated with the help of  Grasshopper, a computational design tool, which led to the formulation of plywood ribs of doubly-curved geometries that interlocked at 6-inch intervals. This “waffle structure” was then put together with the use of 19mm plywood ribs, 3mm Flexi-ply, and 1.5 mm paper veneer – each cut and handled by the carpenters. The craftsmen further jig-sawed the rib in-situ, in a unidirectional arrangement. While the technology formulated the development of the design, the carpenters took ownership of the creation with their experience and knowledge.

The shop becomes a setting befitting for a dialogue between the carpenter, the end-user and the retailer, deepening social engagement. As plywood-carpentry meets its entropic spiral, SHOP NO. 851 hopes to create an opportunity to re-imagine craft of the traditional curves, as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the next generation of torchbearers of intricate carvings. The final note for the installation is an uncertain noise whispered in ears subconsciously picked up by the soul, but almost always leaves the mind unaware.

Photos: Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

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