Kicking off the first in a series of posts from my trip to India, is a shop profile of a unique store nestled in a rambling mansion in the leafy alleyways of Kolkata [or Calcutta].
By Loom – run out of their family home by husband-and-wife team Rumi and Bappaditya Biswas is a treasure trove of intricately hand-woven textiles, handcrafted homeware and original fashion accessories. The couple work with weavers and crafters to marry Bengal’s rich craft heritage with contemporary design.
With original patterned tiles and spacious marble staircases tying the space together, the ground floor is filled with hand-loomed scarves, embroidered soft furnishings, beautifully crafted children’s accessories and home-ware.
The upper floors are laid out like vast walk-in wardrobes, displaying rows and rows of lavish handmade saris, featuring intricate workmanship in a staggering array of colours and patterns.
Since I visited the store four years ago, the store has become a hot spot for India’s design conscious and it has expanded with a bohemian cafe and courtyard serving delicate homemade Indian food.
The spirit of By Loom is undeniably rooted in the building it inhabits and the locality – which retains the essence of an old Bengali neighbourhood. In the West, concept stores taking up premises of town houses and residential spaces to create intimate environments is a big retail trend – but rarely is it a natural evolution of the business.
Walking through the house is like visiting the artistic home of a Bengali relative. Old armoires are filled with handcrafted pottery and ceramics from makers all over the state and coffee tables groan with colourful heirloom-like textiles that look like they have just been taken out of closets for sorting.
The new courtyard, an overspill of the cafe is prepped for whiling away cool afternoons and balmy nights.
58-B, Hindustan Park