Sunita Shekhawat Gallery

Retail | Jaipur, Rajasthan
Studio Lotus proposes a unique archetype for retail design with the new brand experience centre for luxury jewellery label Sunita Shekhawat


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Meenakari, or the craft of enamelling, is the foundation for the work of well-known Indian jewellery designer Sunita Shekhawat. <rt-red>Studio Lotus’ design for the brand’s flagship store and Museum of Meenakari in Jaipur pays homage to this approach; a nod to the region's vibrant cultural heritage amidst a fast-evolving cosmopolitan landscape.<rt-red>

Despite being given carte blanche to pull down the recently cast existing structure, the studio, in line with its design philosophy of minimizing the embodied carbon footprint, decided to work with it, thereby <rt-red>avoiding a total of 1.17million kg CO2 eq. emissions.<rt-red>

The building’s identity is shaped by multiple historical influences—Rajputana, Mughal, and Art Deco—to create a unique composite. <rt-red>The intricate latticework and jharokhas establish a dialogue with Jaipur's streetscape, asserting a unique identity while paying homage to the city's past.<rt-red> Clad in hand-carved Jodhpur red sandstone, the facade harks to the client’s roots in Jodhpur, yet fits seamlessly into the pink palette synonymous with Jaipur’s urban fabric.

The studio proposed the introduction of a museum-gallery at the ground level as a storytelling space on the art of enamelling—a fitting way of giving back to the arts and cultural heritage of Jaipur. This addition not only serves as the fulcrum of the experience but also elevates the brand from a jewellery label to a custodian of the craft.

Programmatically, in addition to the ground floor museum-gallery, the retail store is located one floor below and the offices a floor above it. These three floors are unified on the inside through a striking sculptural staircase that winds through the centre of the space. The top floor, with its panoramic views of the nearby Rajmahal Palace, is designed for use as a restaurant.

On the retail floor, a library-cum-lounge space leads guests into one of four private pods, designed for one-on-one client interactions. Clad in lime stucco, their semi-vaulted ceilings are embellished with frescoes depicting vignettes of the region’s architecture and flora and fauna. Developed over several months in-situ by 12 artisans, interpreted on an unfamiliar scale and medium, the jewel-like expression of hand-crafted luxury reflects the brand’s own ethos; a synergistic collaboration between the architects, the client, and Nisha Vikram of CraftCanvas. The remaining surfaces are monochromatic, to have no distractions at eye level from the intricately-crafted jewellery on display.

The Sunita Shekhawat Flagship Store is designed to foster an environment where the act of purchasing jewellery is not the primary goal; instead, it becomes the natural conclusion of a transformative experience.