Theatre X: The Architecture of Possibilities by I'm X
I’m X, the experimental wing of I'm The Centre for Applied Arts (India), has conceptualized Theatre X as a concept store for a digital-only platform -Border&Fall.
The store channels the philosophy of Border&Fall, challenging preconceived notions of a traditional Indian garment, a Sari, and presenting it as a more contemporary, dynamic and gender-neutral garment. It’s a gradual and almost theatrical reveal of the sartorial, aesthetic and social significance of a Sari for the global audience.
This space facilitates takeovers and collaborations, reflecting the brand’s multi-disciplinary approach to initiate new conversations while building an eclectic community around the Sari. Designed as a blank canvas, the store fluently embodies and enables the voice(s) and the program it represents. It’s based on the hypothesis that both, a Sari and a website are open to interpretation and act as a canvas for personal and interpersonal expressions.
Theater X explores the future of modern retail, especially its relevance post-pandemic. The standstill brought about by COVID-19 not only tested the e-commerce capabilities of brick and mortar stores but also showed us the deeply entangled nature of global business and communities.
Though digital transactions have gained popularity, we are already feeling a major disconnect and digital burnout due to the highly curated, impersonal and unnatural interactions. We are slowly rediscovering the intrinsic human need to belong to a community. There is now a higher focus on creating newer methods for immersive experiences of art, culture, fashion and retail, which are also sustainable, conscious and individualistic.
Motivated by the challenges of futuristic ‘phygital’ spaces, Aarushi studied the enhanced flexibility of digital interfaces facilitated by mechanical systems to create a truly iterative store, defined by its undefined nature in these uncertain times. The store questions the architecture of digital space by creating a unique setup for potentials, rather than assigning a predefined solution.
We are also witnessing retail becoming ‘less permanent’ in its physical structuring with a rise in pop-up retail, given the diverse nature of brand identities. This has led to an increasing concern for sustainability considering the surplus of resources needed to facilitate such designs.
This is where an opportunity for a store like Theatre X lies, as it enables impermanence with minimal resources and a maximum sensorial impact. Since the same space can be repurposed into infinite design languages with minimal use of props, it contributes to the pressing needs for circular solutions.
Project: Theatre X: The Architecture of Possibilities
Design House: I'm X
Design Lead: Aarushi Kalra
Project Guide: Robert Storey