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Azure Magazine

Forest Essentials

May 29, 2019 // Unknown author

In the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, the emerging metropolis of Jodhpur is celebrated as the Blue City. At street level, the moniker’s logic is easy to parse, with the walled city’s patchwork quilt of walls and buildings interspersed with bright notes of teal. From the hills above, however, the effect is much more striking – as a landscape of sky-blue roofs stretches out below. Now, a new cosmetics store transposes a variation of that iconic hue to an interior space, all as part of a revitalization of the Blue City’s historic centre.

Located just beyond Stepwell Square – named for a storage pond where the water is reached via a cascade of descending steps – Forest Essentials Jodhpur transforms a dilapidated residential building into an engaging boutique retail space.

Designed by New Delhi’s Architecture Discipline, the project was made possible by the extensive revitalization of the adjacent stepwell, which was undertaken as part of Jodhpur’s comprehensive JDH Urban Regeneration program. Inside and out, Forest Essentials is a manifestation of the old city’s new urban energy.

At street level, bursts of teal through the windows announce the cosmetics retailer’s presence. While the two-storey shop’s walls and ceilings are painted in a solid colour, the same tone is picked up in the mosaic-pattern linoleum flooring, anchoring the space with a bold and consistent identity.

The building’s restored Art Deco fenestration frames views of the Blue City beyond, putting the interior into conversation with its surroundings. Inside, Jodhpur’s architectural heritage also plays a prominent role, with an intricate scale model of Stepwell Square placed at the heart of the space.

Architecture Discipline’s interior speaks to the region’s built heritage in more subtle ways. Signage and branding reflects the area’s vernacular gold-painting techniques, while opulent notes of gold and brass – including a marquee spiral staircase – playfully hint at local design style with an Art Deco–kitsch twist.As the old city’s stepwells, gullies, havelis, and bazaars take on renewed life, Forest Essentials is a fascinating early manifestation of Jodhpur’s new chapter.