The 1025 Sq ft. Kohler showroom called "The Bath Lounge" is Kohler's first retail outlet in the city of Baroda. Keeping this in mind, along with the fact that Kohler is a premium brand, the design team was determined to ensure that this retail/ display space for sanitary ware and faucets would be completely different from the run-of-the-mill showrooms with bright lights and rows upon rows of products. So a raw, warm and almost meditative environment was considered ideal to offset what is often felt to be a cold looking product.
The inspiration for the design came from "mud" which is the basic material that goes into the production of sanitary ware products. The underlying theme is the use of raw finishes and an earthy colour palette to heighten the contrast between the highly finished ceramic products on display and the base material of "mud". In a nutshell, the design aims to focus on the two extreme forms of clay.
To carry this "raw" theme through into the design, use of a false ceiling was avoided. Additionally walls were not finished with POP - instead they were finished directly with paint on textured plaster. This also benefited the client as there were budgetary constraints involved with the project.
Cement sheet was experimented with as a wall cladding and as a finishing material, and warm earthy colours like terracotta and coffee browns were used. The client also has a tile showroom and so we used the flooring as a means to display some of the exclusive tiles that are available in their other showroom, "Bathworld".
When it came to planning, spaces were defined for specific products. This is important so that the customer is able to make a comparison of products. Level differences and flooring tiles were used to demarcate different display zones. While a great number of products have been displayed, it does not come off as too crowded, and this is a very strong part of the planning.
One of the highlights of the design are the graphic panels that are seen as you enter. These glass panels with film scripting, tell the customer about Kohler, its history and its corporate philosophy. Another innovative part of the design was the creation of live display zones such as the live shower display and Jacuzzi display. This is the first of its kind in Baroda.
Lighting was one of the most crucial aspects of the design. Very little general lighting was used. Instead lights were focused on the product. This together with the use of yellow lights gives a very dramatic effect to the interior environment and helped in creating a "spa" effect. This meditative ambience will positively effects customer psychology and will hopefully lead to increased sales.
One of the biggest restrictions of this site was that it was located in the basement. As a result of this the amount of natural light was restricted. This was however used as an advantage. Instead of taking a huge glass window at the glass entry, everything was closed and two vertical windows were introduced. These "light slits" create a dramatic effect resulting from the subtle play of light that changes as the day progresses.