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For our next review we leave our shores and head to the East… It doesn’t seem that long ago that the future of the department store was wavering; yet for the most part, they have recently enjoyed a new lease of life helped along no doubt by the major design overhauls and they are once again growing in strength.  In India retail is rising at a phenomenal rate and a very high standard has been set by India’s first major chain of department stores, Piramyd.  In the last two years alone Stefan Zachary of Zachary Design has completed 10 new sites of approximately 50,000 square feet each for Piramyd and many more are planned.  Stefan told me that this rapid growth rate being experienced in India far exceeds anything in the Middle East.

Having been head hunted by Krish Iyer, CEO of Piramyd Retail and later selected from three British design consultancies, Zachary Design created a detailed presentation based upon Piramyd’s brief outlining their starting position, target customer, brand positioning, commercial objectives and design philosophy and subsequently won the contract to design, develop and roll-out 100 stores.


They evolved the Piramyd logo, established the design style, created all graphics and designed both the store environment plus every single fixture – a huge achievement.  Their inspiration was not from India or Egypt, the Piramyd name being merely a play on the Piramal name of the founding family, but was a cutting edge contemporary world-class retail store.  The emphasis was on an environment in which world famous brands could coexist with traditional Indian brands including sarees and traditional menswear.

A store design manual was also created in which the roll out standards are listed telling mall developers what they want in terms of space, access, general layout, escalators, lifts, freight handling, toilets, etc.  In fact as each store was completed, site visits took place and refinements in the design were agreed for ongoing stores and rollout standards were updated accordingly in a systemised fashion.

Looking at the pictures of this sophisticated and contemporary store, it is hard to believe that just three years ago there were no department stores or organised retail within India whatsoever.  The store is smart, amazingly well lit, beautifully presented, well thought out, sleek, modern, with floors so highly polished you can see your own reflection in them – everything a department store of the future and a global brand should be!


The lighting has to be the star of the show enhancing the product, highlighting the walkways, edging the mezzanine floors and creating a lovely atmosphere in which to shop.  It is striking and dramatic yet does not detract from the many brands. It is no surprise that shopping is fast becoming one of India’s favourite pastimes.


Stefan says, “We have created something we believe is unique in India, a recognisable, international grade department store which can comfortably accommodate leading brands and provide its customers with a professional service in an exciting and comfortable atmosphere.


“Alongside the development of Piramyd, Zachary Design has also completed a new supermarket chain concept called Spinach with fifteen stores now open in Mumbai and many more planned.  Over 20 further projects are currently being planned or developed with super-malls incorporating cinemas, restaurants, hotels and living accommodation, in one case reaching 1.6 million square feet of sales space, in another 500 acres.  These projects are in locations all over India and further work is coming in all the time!"


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