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29 June 2008

SIGHTED SITE : Urbano, Kolkata

DEBUTING AT South City Mall in southern Kolkata is Urbano, an exciting new furniture and accessories destination. I'm impressed with their mix-and-match palette of furniture sets, soft furnishings, adornments, and lighting mostly from Spain, Turkey, and Southeast Asia. It's easily one of the most chic collections that I've seen in Kolkata.

Covering 12,000 square feet of space next to Spencer's Hyper, Urbano has the look and feel of the Met Museum Store. The ceiling is stripped of any finish, painted instead in black to lower the airspace and allow the metal halide and warm white lighting to permeate the entire store.

The adornment section covers the left half of the store and features stark-colored glazed ceramic ware, silk florals, shiny polyester shag rugs, over-sized glass jars, and gilded Orientalia on black and white gondolas. Using techniques of repetition and color grouping, the adornments display is well presented. Because I'm poor at shutting my mouth when it comes to anything pertinent to visual merchandising, I advised one of the owners to remove the massive vase display at the windows to allow an unperturbed view of the adornment section from the mall. He agreed. I gloated.

The right, and larger, half of the store features the furniture collections, tightly grouped to allow an easy navigation around the store. However, Urbano sticks to strongly defined lifestyle themes around every collection. One of the garden sets, for example, is hemmed in by a wooden fence and soft-pile grass-green carpet. In one of the most luscious living room sets in the store, a violin rests on a very low massive wooden table. (It works: I overheard one of the shoppers inquiring if the instrument is being sold.) The loose essential pieces are displayed on airspace shelves with tag lines as backdrop—a technique used extensively by Ikea and the Met Store, but working effectively in Urbano.

I'm most excited about the few lighting pieces. Halogen-lit chandeliers with silver and crystal beads drop from ceiling to floor like spiral waterfalls of iridescent, shimmering balls. An unusual piece is a plain-looking table lamp that seems to have melted, with its diagonal half cut away to rest on the table. The effect is delightful.

The price points are surprisingly competitive to other high-end furniture stores in the city. For example, a five-foot veneered bedroom cabinet with four shelves is worth less than Indian Rupees 5,000 (USD 120), and a full double-door veneered bookshelf is within the range of Indian Rupees 12,000 (USD 285). Not bad, considering the abundance of Malaysian furniture in Kolkata with the same price range.

Visit the store and indulge in a new home living experience in Kolkata.

Lower Ground Floor, South City Mall
375 Prince Anwar Shah Road
Kolkata 700 068, India
Telephone +91 33 2422 8760

Related site: Urbano


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