The 2008 Store of the Year might seem a somewhat unusual choice, since, for starters, it’s not a store at all. Asian Paints Colour Store in Mumbai was created as a place for Indian consumers to see paint choices and get inspired by the various colors available to them to recreate in their homes. But it’s all inspiration and suggestion. There’s no actual product sold in the store.
“Home decorating in India has been handled almost entirely by contractors,” says KBS Anand, president of decorative business at Asian Paints. “The Indian DIY industry is only now beginning. We wanted to de-mystify the category, to make our customers feel like experts in color and home decor.”
The design, by Fitch Worldwide’s Singapore office, is intended to present products within lifestyle contexts. It’s inspired by “holi,” the Indian color festival in the spring, during which powder and water, colored by medicinal herbs, are sprayed into the air to fight the viral fevers and colds associated with the changing climate.
Hundreds of LED lights are suspended in an arch over the store entrance, and when a shopper selects a color from one of the pedestals, an electronic pulse shoots across the store’s façade. Motion sensors hidden within each pedestal send a pulse of the selected color up through the archway lights, creating constant color shifts throughout the whole storefront. The effect is called the “color heartbeat.”
The backdrop to many of the room sets is a “domino” wall, a rotating tri-graphic system that allows as many as three colors to be displayed. The panels rotate every 10 seconds, providing a dynamic example of how color can affect space.
“We wanted to create a walk-in home decor magazine,” says Darren Watson, Fitch’s design director. “The store brings an editorial approach to its layout – presenting products in a lifestyle context with easy-to-understand choices, recommendations, top tips and the latest trends.”