If we were playing a game of Scrabble, we would pick the letters T.R.O.P.I.C.A.L, L.I.G.H.T. and A.I.R.Y. to describe Nicobar’s second outlet in Mumbai. However, Simran Lal and Raul Rai, the founder duo behind the contemporary home décor, fashion and travel accessories brand, have already beaten us to it.
Their store, in the familiar and homely Patkar Bungalow on Bandra’s Turner Road, will feature fun Scrabble letters to highlight their travel collection. And that’s just the beginning of our journey inwards.\elmed by architect Shonan Purie Trehan of L.A.B. Architects, the Patkar Bungalow’s groundfloor renovation and refurbishment took three months to pull off.
Nicobar, which threw open its doors to Mumbai’s discerning home décor and fashion line last year with its Kala Ghoda outlet, has well and truly appropriated the indie label and no longer needs an introduction by way of its parent label, Good Earth. With an airy, tropical and nostalgic feel that permeates the 1,200-square- foot erstwhile colonial bungalow, Nicobar’s fifth store in India reflects an assured and contemporary palette that one has to commit to, through a sustained engagement, rather than saunter in and out of.
Simran and Raul’s brief to the design team might seem standard—a space that is inviting, inclusive and outward looking—but one that encapsulates a lived philosophy about how to step away from cliched interpretations of a retail outlet’s interior design. Nicobar’s story is about a contemporary Indian brand looking outward, using modern Indian design sensibilities as a starting point.
“Nicobar Bandra abandons the conventional open plan retail space, for a more quaint and cosy home experience where one moves from chamber to chamber (or as we call it ‘from island to island’) as if moving through one’s own personal space,” says Simran.
The outside of the bungalow retains its vintage character with sloping tin roof, grand archways and shuttered windows. Helmed by architect Shonan Purie Trehan of L.A.B. Architects, the Patkar Bungalow’s ground floor renovation and refurbishment took three months to pull off, with the upgradelending the space seven demarcated sections to showcase Nicobar’s seasonal collections
The home décor, travel accessories and fashion line take inspiration from the tropical region: think monsoon, Indian Ocean, journeys through the sub-continent and the Silk Route, and further afield, through the lush paradise of south east Asia and neighbouring islands. It’s an amalgamation of subtle motifs, neutral colours, clean lines, and minimal silhouettes.
“With a design and colour theme that centres on relaxing whites, earthy neutrals, subtly modern visual merchandising and fun pops of tropical greens, the store is modern with an Indian undercurrent through the Nicobar looking glass,” explains Simran Lal. Each room is treated as an oasis, with a distinct aesthetic that immediately calls to mind a man’s den (menswear section), a tropical haven(women’s wear) and a cozy nook for travel enthusiasts (travel section). The highlight in the menswear section is a midnight blue wall with a hand-painted mural of a tiger and a moon and it’s the only room that has a wooden floor to distinguish it from the others.
In the homewares room, the walls are white and the ceiling is grey; in the travel room where the walls are a warm grey, the ceiling is white; and in the menswear room, we see darker walls. A highlight in the menswear section is a midnight blue wall with a hand-painted mural of a tiger and a moon and it’s the only room that has a wooden floor to distinguish it from the others. We particularly dig the cabinet sourced from Chor Bazaar that’s akin to a Cabinet of Curiosities a la an archaic museum, one that invites perusal and exploration.
Womenswear has a buoyant feel. Combed white walls, rough earthy stone with woven cane lights. Each room has its own distinct character and yet it is unified by the overarching urban tropical chic aesthetic. “Our current in-store collection is inspired by a voyage to Japan. The Home collection is soaked in sometsuke blues, and inspired by those distinctive blue-and- white ceramics that are so intertwined with Japan. This is a line that is thoroughly global, entirely modern, and designed to bring zen to urban dwellings,” elaborates Simran. Story as it appeared