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85l pops up

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The Telegraph Online   |   Published 05.08.13, 12:00 AM

Proprietors Shalini Nopany (left) and Pooja Goenka in a quick chat with t2...

Why deviate from the trademark old-Bangali bari look that has been the design USP of the brand 85 Lansdowne?

Shalini: It wasn’t possible to do that old Bangali look in this kind of a space, so you can say that the space decided the look.

How do you plan to tackle the crowd that you have on a sale day at 85L in this limited space?

Shalini & Pooja (laugh): That’s something we haven’t figured out… we’ll see when it happens.

People who would go to the older 85 Lansdowne were serious buyers, you hardly got window-shoppers. But this being on Park Street, aren’t you worried about random walk-ins?

Pooja: Initially the curiosity will be there… so they are most welcome.

Shalini: In a way it’s good, because a lot of young people walk around Park Street… they might come in and just browse the stuff. That will increase awareness of fashion and designer labels.

So, is this really pop-up, or would this end up being a second address of 85 Lansdowne?

Shalini & Pooja (laugh): For us, right now it’s just pop-up… we don’t know what it will turn out to be later.

When can one expect the old store to reopen?

Pooja: In another four months.

My inspiration was the word ‘pop-up’… the word has such a young vibe. I thought of pop art… at the same time keeping with the fashion theme…. The original 85 Lansdowne was very beautiful, but we wanted to deviate from that look here. So, we’ve given this store a much more young, pop-up kind of vibe. The property is very old, probably pre-Independence construction… there are exposed and rusted columns and beams… we decided to utilise all of that. So the look is very industrial and futuristic with an artistic twist… like the New York loft homes. The look is also muted, so that it doesn’t disturb the merchandise on the racks, which are anyway so colourful.

-- Ajay Arya, interior designer



The expanse is what hits you most about the interiors of the new 85 Lansdowne on 21 Park Street, which opened doors on Thursday. The 3,500sq ft pop-up store is split into two levels. Considering the racks along the walls display 30 labels, you wonder how the interiors have been given this sense of abundant space. Some strategically placed full-length mirrors add to the sense of space. “While in the old 85 Lansdowne we had separate rooms for the designers, here we have kept the expanse,” said Ajay Arya who had designed the original 85 Lansdowne and has done up the new one as well.

Some furniture pieces from the old 85 Lansdowne have made it to the new store. “This is a pop-up store, so from the budget point of view it wasn’t viable to get all new furniture. So we got some of the cupboards and chairs from the old store,” says Ajay. Also being recycled are these wooden platforms. While these were used in the storeroom at the older store, here these are being used to display the accessories with stunning effect.

As soon as you step in and look right, there’s a wall filled with graffiti. Painted by artist Pampa Panwar from Santiniketan, this has a street-art feel, at the same time conveying images of fashion. “I took the elements of a fashion boutique… the costumes and accessories and juxtaposed them in an abstract manner,” said Pampa, who dabbles with abstract as well as nature-inspired art. This graffiti apart, the walls of the whole store have placement tattoos all over. “These tattoos break the monotony of the racks,” says Ajay. Another highlight of the entrance area is a striking lighting feature — a wooden grid with exposed bulbs that gives an industrial feel.

The old, rusty look is a design highlight here. “There were some rusted columns that we wanted to keep that way, but it was not feasible since the rust could have spoilt the clothes. Hence we painted them in the rust colour. The signage also has a rust-like background that was specially made,” said Ajay. Exposed columns, beams and an old sewing machine add to the industrial look.

Smita Roy Chowdhury
Pictures: Rashbehari Das

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