A New Narrative On Indian Craftsmanship And Design At Ensemble’s New Store In Ahmedabad

  • 4 Jan '24
  • 1:24 pm by Satarupa Datta

To enter the world of Ensemble is to walk into a vast exhibit of luxurious fabrics from top couturiers like Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta, Amit Aggarwal to younger labels like Mishru, Ritika Mirchandani and Arpita Mehta. Dubbed a multi-designer store, their collections run a mix of contemporary fashion, luxe glam, and Indian wear to textile-forward offerings that apply the nuances of Indian craftsmanship to style innovative drapes. 

Ensemble India founded by Tarun Tahiliani in 1987 and now led by Tina Tahiliani Parikh carries a brand ethos that is ‘India Modern’ right from its inception. It communicates fusing the traditional with contemporary finesse. Staying true to Ensemble’s DNA, the new store in Ahmedabad carries tales of heritage and contemporary design. Drawing inspiration from Bijoy Jain’s flagship Kala Ghoda store, the architects Abhhay and Vinod Narkar beautifully orchestrated the ideology of ‘India Modern’ into its 4000 sq. ft space design adding a distinctive character to the Ahmedabad store. 

The specially designed benches set the tone for an open space to host various events and interactions. (Image Credit: Fabien Charuau)

Minimalism That Maximises The In-Store Designs

With a statement entrance, patrons are offered a welcome that features a subtly embellished verandah filled with an arrangement of potted flowers and a beautiful canopy. The two large wooden canopies aid against that functioning as a transition between indoors and outdoors and in the day offer shade against the scorching heat. 

This deliberate choice of an understated material palette only accentuates the beauty of the showcased couture. (Image Credit: Fabien Charuau)

Inside a GI grid greets patrons with a select couture display. The architects explained the functionality of the installation saying, “the concept was to forge a screen that serves as a dynamic display backdrop and an unobtrusive presence, ensuring customers seamlessly perceive the space beyond the grid.” On first look, the concrete terrazzo doesn’t stand out but once you look closely the stunning brass strips within the joints create a subtle linear pattern adding a touch of glamour to the space. 

Neutral palettes, clean lines, uncluttered layout, and organic silhouettes forge a stunning minimalist space that highlights the intricate craftsmanship and signature drapes showcased by top couturiers in the country. 

The red 20th-century all-wool nomadic carpet hailing from the Kyrgyzstan region adds a dash of colour to the monotones of the store. This carpet is woven in two halves and skilfully sewn at the centre. (Image Credit: Fabien Charuau)

India Modern In A Magical Entanglement Of The Past and Present 

In a candid conversation with DP, Tina reveals, “Our new flagship in Ahmedabad is a tribute to Ensemble’s core aesthetic of bringing together distinctly Indian elements in an elevated form.”

The handcrafted furniture by master designers comes with a touch of glimmering metal making the space infinitely and instantly more glamorous. (Image Credit: Fabien Charuau)

The light fixtures are remoulded from old Murano glass, a recurring element in all the Ensemble stores that adds warmth. “Thoughtfully positioned, they act both as focal highlights and axial spines, introducing a nuanced Art déco aesthetic” the architects explain. 

The richness of Indian artistry plays a muse to many artists and this store is no exception. Ahmedabad’s houses in pols were built traditionally using wood and brick masonry; the result is elaborate wood-carved facades featuring doors and balconies chiselled with floral and geometric motifs. This paired with the India Modern theme is the perfect combination for the Ensemble’s curated space. While we cannot bring back the heritage havelis of the textile merchants of Ahmedabad, however the design concept of Ensemble bridges past and present-day architectural structures by introducing smaller traditional patterns, hints of charm, and grace that glisten the interiors with the rich decadence of the yore and align with a contemporary design ethos of form and function. 

From adding canopied balconies to Banswara marble shelves and delicate brass mesh curtains to the mid-century modern wooden furniture, each element ties in the thread of recreating ‘India Modern’ in every nook of the store’s design aesthetic. 

A tri-fold mirror, with reflective surfaces on both sides, is strategically placed outside the lounge. These mirrors not only amplify the ambience but also craft a sense of three-dimensional, faceted enclosures. (Image Credit: Fabien Charuau)

Weaving In Compelling Narratives Like The Nostalgia of The 90s Fashion Divas

Adjacent to the changing rooms, the lounge stands out with its 90s pop culture inclusion in design. The archival photos of Ensemble’s favourite models, Meher Jesia and Shyamolie Verma were turned into captivating artworks to adorn the walls. 

Ensemble prides itself on empowering clients with styling ideas and advising on combining pieces from different designers to complete the look. (Image Credit: Fabien Charuau)

The most compelling narrative that brings a sense of movement to the label is Ensemble’s take on philosophising ‘repurpose’ and ‘repeat’ designer wear and combining them with new elements. This unveils the brand’s sustainable stride into the world of fashion. “We are excited to present the art of mix & match to Ahmedabad as well”, says the dynamic Aria Parikh who deftly handles the brand’s merchandising. 

The opening of Ensemble in Ahmedabad marks 36 years of the brand’s enduring legacy and chaperoning many bold-faced designers attached to the brand. Ahmedabad is a fascinating archive of textile art and architectural heritage. The city’s astonishing gamut of heritage weaves, ranging from brocade weaving of ashavali sarees, the vibrant patolas, kambira embroideries of Kutch, to the intrinsic aari work to appliqué and ajrakh textiles have left a profound impact on the minds of both Tarun and Tina Tahiliani Parikh. “It’s just the beginning of another story as the city is a holy grail of rich textile heritage and exquisite craftsmanship which needs to be unearthed and cherished for generations to come,” explains Tahiliani Parikh.