In India, the city of Jaipur is brimming with architectural gems. The Rajasthan capital, and the first planned city in the country, was painted pink in 1876 in preparation for a visit by Prince Albert as, at the time, the colour was symbolic of hospitality. Ever since, Jaipur has been dubbed the Pink City — and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. Alongside its rosy hues, the city’s iconic stepwells, constructed to mitigate water shortages in India’s arid climate, have defined its urban fabric. In Dubai, a new showroom for Jaipur Rugs draws inspiration from this distinct architectural language.
Located in the city’s Alserkal district, the 780-square-metre showroom embodies the history and culture of the city where the company was established 45 years ago. “Every design starts with a story,” says Nikita Chellani, lead interior designer at ROAR, the firm which renovated an old warehouse into the new showroom. “After our initial meeting with Jaipur Rugs, it soon became apparent that the company’s birthplace and home city was a tremendous and endless source of inspiration for them, so it felt essential to also reference it in our interior design.”
The showroom is divided into two distinct zones. Visitors enter a dramatic, double-height open concept space on the ground level, where floor-to-ceiling rug displays on three walls mimic the form of stepwells, carefully arranged in a colourful gradient.
“A key component that kept returning in our research was the city’s stepped ponds. For centuries, they have played a significant role in functioning as traditional water systems, as well as being hubs of social and cultural interactions,” says ROAR founder Pallavi Dean. “Transposed into an interior setting, this element brings a very special spatial experience for the visitor. At the same time, we pay homage to the elaborate classical Indian painted surfaces and crafts by recreating a rich, textural décor.”
A seating vignette at the centre of the space is highlighted by a large, suspended chandelier, that recalls a string of sparkling gemstones, adding a touch of glamour. Subtle hints of metallic rose gold run through the entire scheme, imbuing an elegant appeal to everything from door frames to furniture.
Underneath the steps, arched doorways act as portals into colourful alcoves that stand out against the showroom’s warm grey micro-cement walls. Each is upholstered entirely with carpets in hues that correspond to the adjacent stairs.
Two fully immersive rooms, rendered in blue and green jewel tones, are dedicated to the brand’s Manchaha collections, which, as part of the brand’s social enterprise initiative, are produced by local weavers who are given carte blanche to develop their own designs. A series of “rug libraries,” meanwhile, incorporate more traditional rug displays, via custom-made sliding panels.
With its immersive and architectural design, the Jaipur Rugs showroom takes an inventive approach to the way it displays its products — but it’s more than just a shopping destination. On the mezzanine level, which also features management offices and meeting rooms, an open workspace features a communal table where designers can post up for the day. Like the social and cultural stepwells that inspired it, the showroom is now a hub for the local design community.