Walking down a quiet by-lane of South Mumbai’s Art Deco quarter we spotted the unassuming building and simple sign that heralds the entrance to ‘Clove’. Before you even enter the store, you’re hit by an overwhelming scent of essential oils, a fragrance so heady it’s almost otherworldly. This magical little boutique curated by Samyukta Nair is a revelation in Mumbai’s frentic atmosphere and reminds us that shopping need not be a whirlwind of purchasing but an experience to savour. The concept store opened three months ago to the public and has been carefully curated by Samyukta as something entirely unique “ Clove offers my favourites across fashion, design and craft from India. It was envisioned as a welcoming space akin to one’s home within the comfort of which people could casually linger and browse without the added pressure of having to make a purchase.” she says.
The store highlights effortless everyday luxury while still offering a range of products that are ‘whimsical yet purposeful’. The walls are lined with a treasure trove of trinkets from porcelain dinnerware to organic toiletries. Samyukta aimed to showcase unique products that are inherently Indian but also included a ‘ a selection of collectibles brought back from my travels as an ode the art of discovery and experience.’
The interiors themselves are a work of art. Ideated by Samyukta in conjunction with Designer & Architect Zameer Basrai, Retail Advisory by Malika Verma Kashyap of Border & Fall and Creative Associate Ayesha Kapadia the space was designed to have be a minimalist take on a luxury apartment. ‘Each room is structured around a large, painted wall display unit which is quirkily offset by a floating free-form brass lamp above, adding the only three-dimensional element to the composition.’ The brass light fittings designed by Zameer Basrai mimic a free flowing brushstroke, of all the elements that inhabit Clove, they are one of the most enchanting and the deconstructed chandelier captures the imagination.
Though still a new concept in the city, Samyukta believes that India is ready for more intimate shopping venues like Clove, the few niche stores like Bombay Electric, Bungalow 9 and Jaipur Modern have all been hugely successful and she thinks it’s time for an overhaul of India’s approach. As she puts it, “Personally, I find retail in India to be too much of a hard sell. Hence, the presence of concept stores like Clove are a breath of fresh air for those who enjoy browsing and a purposeful edit along with the aesthetic appeal adds to making them a retail destination in their own right.”
Clove is so much more than a shop, it’s a full blown experience. From the wall of vintage sunglasses collected from across the globe to the showcase of painstakingly hand-beaded clutches designed by their in-house label, everything tells a story. Together the products weave together a completely new and utterly fascinating new world to explore.
All images by Rashi Arora