Re-creating History

Asheesh Vaderaa has styled the D&A?s new shoe showroom at the DLF City Centre in Gurgaon on the lines of the Roman Pantheon.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2003 16:41 IST

Rome was not built in a day! And most certainly even though the historical edifice of the famed Italian Capital was not achieved overnight, its architectural details have mesmerised many down the ages. Sparking so much interest in their style, symbolism and meaning that it led to the replication of a number of the city’s marvels all around the world. One such example exists in our very own backyard as well!

If you think that I am going to take you on a tour of a monument or a public place, hold your breath! Interior designer-turned-entrepreneur, Asheesh Vaderaa, has replicated the architectural style of the Roman Pantheon in the design of ... (any guesses??) ... a shoe showroom — the D&A shoe outlet at the DLF City Centre in Gurgaon. (You definitely could not have guessed this one!)

“I have always been interested in historical architecture as it involves the intricacies and details that are not there in the modern style. Anyway I find the modern style a bit boring, mainly due to its lack of detailing. As the mall was already designed in a contemporary manner — with lots of glass and straight lines — it was all the more imperative that the 1,000 sq. ft. showroom did not toe the same line, in order to look different,” says Vaderaa, who also owns the upmarket D&A shoe showroom. Another reason was to make the showroom exhibit a profile that was not similar to its existing parent outlet at South Extension (Part-II).

The showroom’s structural design takes its inspiration from the Pantheon. While the ceiling sports bricks, the walls have been ribbed in Plaster-of-Paris. The wide range of trendy footwear has been displayed on shelves in different sections, which are separated by pillars, a replica of the Roman building. “In fact, apart from the basic design, even the material that has been used to build the pillars is the same that was used to build Rome — that is, travertine. So, the showroom is historic even in terms of the material used,” says Vaderaa.

“The beauty about the Pantheon is its central piece and the pillars. Of course, the pillars in the showroom have been slightly modified because the height of the Pantheon is gigantic whereas the showroom is definitely a much smaller replica,” he says.

The shelves turn into a semi-circle that is shaped like an amphitheatre. The rough texture on the walls as well as the use of Italian ceramic flooring which matches the rugged look of the travertine pillars further complete the picture.

Also, instead of the normal shoe shop seating: benches placed next to each other in a row, D&A sports cane chairs which have been placed next to the pillars leaving the centre of the shop vacant. “This results in lots of walking space,” says Vaderaa.

However, the most eye-catching aspect of the showroom is its exterior, which sports a metal design all over a glass frontage. Two arches have been excluded from the design so that through the glass exterior, you can see shoes displayed on pedestals with the ‘Pantheon’ behind.

Says Vaderaa, “The basic idea behind the design was about re-creating history. We wanted to do something historic and different. Modern architecture is very bland, whereas the older structures have much more romance to them. A thought that prompted the design of the showroom.” Creating, or rather re-creating history!

First Published: Dec 19, 2003 12:14 IST