The Jewel of Moradabad

HSJ’s tenets of product purity and design sensibility are translated into a stunning architectural language as the century-old jeweler expands its presence across India

By Jenny S. Rebholz

Since 1893, Harsahaimal Shiamlaj Jewellers (HSJ) has been focused on product purity and design sensibility. This commitment has not wavered as the brand has evolved over the years, growing its presence in India from a regional level to a national platform, and creating a distinct customer experience along the way. With the help of India-based architecture firm Ravish Mehra Deepak Kalra, the opening of the Moradabad location allows HSJ to continue to expand its presence and position the brand for the future.

“Moradabad was uncharted territory for a major jewelry brand,” says Deepak Kalra, partner of Ravish Mehra Deepak Kalra and principal architect on the project. “Locals were traveling to surrounding large-scale towns to purchase jewelry, so this provided the brand a viable opportunity to expand its name.”

HSJ’s flagship store brings luxury jewelry to the multitudes, so the design of the new space needed to communicate the tradition and plush appeal of luxury in a modern and approachable way. HSJ wanted to enter seamlessly into the market, so the city would embrace them as a retailer and be in awe of this unique retail experience without feeling overwhelmed or intimated by the environment.

This made the design strategy of the façade critically important. For added drama, the architecture team gave the building a vault-like appearance to create a sense of solidity and impenetrability. A faceted-surface detailing adds a textural effect that softens the imposing structure and beckons people closer. A set of 30-ft.-high, stained-glass doors further entices guests. These colorful creations add a sparkle to the otherwise neutral façade while infusing a sense of curiosity by offering just a glimpse of what’s inside.

“The biggest challenge was to be able to design a façade that made a bold statement and yet did not intimidate the multitude of people entering the showroom. It had to be inviting in its simplicity,” Deepak Kalra describes. “We took direct inspiration from the culture and translated that into the design language, so that people could relate to it and at the same time expect a very different experience.”

Design details and the color and materials palette take a contemporary approach to the Islamic and Mughal influences of the city, crafting an aesthetic with widespread appeal. Islamic orders, geometries and patterns were incorporated into intricately carved and assembled stone pieces, in the stained glass doors and in the form of inlays. The material selections feature travertine, Botticino marble, plaster of Paris, color-coated stainless steel, exotic stones and solid-surface materials, while the color palette offers a selection of Islamic neutral tones highlighted by blue, green and gold.

“We wanted to meld modern touches with the traditional influences in a way that creates a plush design that makes a bold statement yet is timeless in its simplicity,” says Shifaa Kalra, an associate with Ravish Mehra Deepak Kalra.

As a city known for its metal handicrafts, it is appropriate that the featured focal point as one enters is a spectacular chandelier that was designed to capture the elements of Mughal jewels. Meant to look like a stunning piece of jewelry, the chandelier provides an awe-inspiring effect at the entrance. Just beyond this area, a blue inlay flooring acts as a foyer to the circulation zone of the store.

The layout was carefully planned with dedicated sections for each product category. The organization was meant to keep a separation between each sales area while still providing a visual connection. Likewise, the design of each area was to be a distinct experience yet provide continuity. A clear demarcation was established between public, private and semi-private areas. Each section of the store—gold, silver and diamond—is located on a different floor. In addition, HSJ work areas and workshops were planned for a separate floor in order to provide complete privacy.

Wayfinding is simplified by working around a center point of accessibility. A cut-out was created in the central area to provide a visual connection between all three sales floors without sacrificing usable floor area. The main-level flooring inlay is reflected in the ceiling pattern on the upper level to maintain the connection from space to space, as well as to achieve a cohesive design.

A specific color scheme, display infrastructure and atmosphere were created for each section of the store in order to properly showcase the product and suit the client profile. The counters in each area highlight select merchandise, giving each piece a level of importance. On the first floor, merchandise is displayed on backlit stretched fabric that is watermarked with the HSJ logo.

While natural light is only accessible through the front façade, strategically located spotlights achieve an even light level while also enhancing the sparkle effect of the jewelry. Due to the nature of the merchandise, the color tones and intensities of the light sources are varied to achieve the best lighting effects. Bright white lights enhance the silver and diamond displays, while warm lighting provides a better source for the gold merchandise.

The specified furnishings emphasize the carefully selected color scheme designated for each area. Shades of browns, reds and burgundy accentuate the gold section, whereas the predominate use of blues and grays add impact to the diamond section. The ornamental, honeycomb-patterned ceiling in the diamond area is a contemporary take on traditional Islamic patterns and geometry. The selected blue hue is a predominant Islamic color and helps reinforce the blue and gray scheme of the diamond section.

“The interiors offer a rich use of mirror, colored steel, marble inlays and heavy fabrics. Similar concepts have been translated into various materials to generate a sense of continuity,” Deepak Kalra says. “Elements with detailed Mughal craftsmanship are fully captured and used to create an environment that leaves people awestruck.”

This retail experience is another milestone in the HSJ timeline. The company continues its legacy with this showroom with the intent of truly formulating its brand identity here in order to provide context for future expansion in the town of Uttar Pradesh. While this project is a steady step forward for the company, it reinforces the heart of the brand by translating its tenets of product purity and design sensibility into a stunning architectural language.


project file

Moradabad, India

Ravish Mehra Deepak Kalra

Sunil Arora


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Satish Sud Graphics

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