In a country as diverse as India, the idea of luxury too is many. From a mass-produced, pricey cotton shirt with a logo to a masterpiece made by an artisan, anything is touted as luxury. It makes the L-word commonplace and merely the cost, not distinctiveness or craft, becomes its sole measure. Such a notion limits the discourse on luxury to the bling. But real luxe products are fast moving beyond brands or logos. A visit to the exquisite The House of Angadi which recently announced the launch of India’s most luxurious multi-designer destination dedicated to the concept of Indian Textiles and luxury taught us a thing or two on the same.
Named ‘Angadi Heritage’, the landmark at Ashoka Pillar Road, Bengaluru is spread over an 18,000 square feet and draws inspiration from Indian heritage architecture and design. A brainchild of K. Radharaman, the Founder, CEO and Design Head of The House of Angadi, the destination marks another pioneering effort by the Textile Designer and Fashion Entrepreneur, who has earlier taken the 600-year-old textile legacy of his family forward with famed retail brands such as Angadi Galleria and his limited edition design label “ ADVAYA”.
Radharaman conceived Angadi Heritage when he realized that, like “Advaya”, many other Indian luxury labels needed a suitable platform at par with international standards in retail. This thought was brought to life by its co-creators, Brinda Somaya and Abha Narain Lambah, two of India’s foremost architectural minds who have collaborated with Radharaman in this endeavour.
Radharaman asserts that Indian handloom products are generally perceived as a commodity in India, unlike the West where handcrafted products are considered luxury. While this perception is slowly changing, his aim is to celebrate this legacy in a majestic space that showcases the finest products India has to offer in a manner that befits their stature.
What’s in it?
Expect opulent Indian luxury lifestyle labels across product categories find their rightful space spread across four floors of heritage inspired luxury. Leather accessories by Nappa Dori, personal care from Pure Earth, fragrances by The Perfume Library, apparel labels such as Anavila, Urvashi Kaur, 11.11, Injiri, Rimzim Dadu, Akaaro; menswear by Suket Dhir and Rajesh Pratap Singh as well as Childrens wear by Love The World Today share space with The House if Angadi’s own in-house ready to wear and sari labels.
To give shape to his vision, Radharaman collaborated with award-winning architects Brinda Somaya and Abha Narain Lambah. While Somaya was tasked with the design of the civil structure, that was conceived from scratch, the interiors of the store have been designed by Abha Lambah, whose conservation projects have infused new life into landmarks such as The Royal Opera House Mumbai, Bikaner House, Teen Murthi Bhawan among others.
Different architectural styles combine seamlessly to present a grand natural stone structure that is meant to make a mark on the urban landscape of Bengaluru. The majestic Vidhan Soudha of Bengaluru, which inspired the idea of having long windows across the height of the stone façade, and the austere royal palaces of South India were the principle muses for the tiered structure which tapers on top, an element drawn from Chettinad and other Dravidian architecture styles.
Polished brass accents are seen framing the windows of the stone façade with the almost radiant colour of the natural stone.
Once inside, the Entrance foyer is framed by majestic arches and a beautiful decorative ceiling, further accented by magnificanet Chandeliers. Inspired by the long central courtyard of the almost palatial Chettinad Mansions, Lambah has incorporated chequered tiles in the foyer and a gold painted coffered ceiling on the ground floor. Level one is defined by a brilliant epoxy floor with an ethereal glazed finish that almost serves as a mirror to the vibrant palette of colours of the saris housed on the floor.
In continuation of his favoured theme of repurposing heritage furniture and architectural elements Radharaman and Lambah scoured the country’s finest repositories of antiquated furniture and have repurposed and resotred several unique pieces to serve as storage for the stores vast collection of saris. Inverted Railings suspended from the ceiling to hang saris and a variety of cabinets, chests and tables house an array of exquisitely handcrafted textiles.
Reflecting the transistion of the store’s product – the space transforms itself to a contemporary world of luxury and opulence that would rival the finest retail stores of the world as one traverses upto the second and third floors. The second floor houses a plethora of luxury lifestyle labels across product categories such as Womenswear, Childernswear, Accessories, Personal care and perfumes.
The men’s section on the third floor welcomes visitors with an unusual speckled travertine flooring with impressive brass architraves framing the lift lobby. In keeping with the refined sensibilities of The House of Angadi, the Men’s department operates on the theme of understated luxury – with brands such as Rajesh Pratap Singh, Suket Dhir and Antar Agni straddling alongside sharply cut collection of men’s jackets, waistcoats and bandhgalas by The House of Angadi.
Angadi Heritage: An Exclusive Preview
A private preview for Angadi Heritage was hosted by K. Radharaman on 27th September 2019. The invite only audience comprising of the most influential voices in fashion in India and the creme de la creme of Bengaluru society were treated to a first look of this magnificent destination and its curated mix of Textile & Luxury Lifestyle labels. Also present were the celebrated co-creators of Angadi Heritage: Abha Narain Lambah and Brinda Somaya who were brought together on the same project for the first time by Radharaman.
As a celebration of the label that led to the birth of Angadi Heritage, a gallery of textile installations was presented featuring the many design interventions created by Radharaman for ‘Advaya’, as well as some archival pieces of textiles from his personal family collections.
From the path-breaking Linen Kanjeevaram to a unique 3 layered fabric with metallic yarns, the gallery showcased the breadth of Radharaman’s textile interventions across different genres and techniques in both traditional and contemporary textiles. The showcase of archival reproductions from Radharaman’s family collection also created an amazing juxtaposition to the path-breaking textile designs created by him.
The Advaya Gallery preview set the tone for a special guided tour of the 4 storied luxury destination peppered with interesting anecdotes that accompanied almost every detail in the store. This was followed by a sumptuous culinary treat specially created for the guests of Angadi Heritage by acclaimed chef Manu Chandra.