In a world full of rules, dare to be an exception. This seems to be the life mantra for sisters Noor and Neimat Sethi, co-founders of the exquisite Artisan Lab in Delhi’s Greater Kailash.
Through their store, the sisters decided to bring together their expertise in design, food and hospitality to create a posh hub for millennials.
Noor, the creative director of the brand, which was established in 2018, is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York, while her sister Neimat is a graduate of the Glion Institute in Switzerland.
After completing their formal education, the Sethi sisters conceptualised the boutique-like Artisan Lab, which houses décor accents, objects, accent furniture, art, lighting, tableware, lifestyle accessories and clothing.
The idea was to create an experiential retail space, where a person could shop, eat and/or unwind.
Keeping with the theme, on the second level of the Artisan Lab is the Artisan Lab Café, which is the brainchild of Neimat, a professional chef and food consultant.
Neimat creates a global, seasonal and sustainable cafe menu, by leaning into her culinary experiences from the kitchens
of The Ritz Carlton in Dubai, Junoon in
New York and Calabria in Italy.
Food, fun and fashionable retail
With both their respective experiences, the Sethi sisters knew that Artisan Lab had to be the perfect synergy of food and retail, and they would not have had it any other way.
“Artisan Lab is a globally inspired part concept store and part cabinet of curiosities created with a reverential commitment to craftsmanship. The café on the second level is a seamless extension of the retail space, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book and indulge in some retail therapy while listening to soothing jazz and blues tunes,” they tell us. “You’ll find here the fine works of craftspeople as well as home-grown creatives, all under one roof.”
Art and architecture
As you enter the store, the space invites you to slow down and enjoy the modern series of interlinked floors and rooms.
Every architectural element in the store stands out as a prominent feature, inspired by geometric designs across doorway arches, bold display fixtures and glass-bricked walls that fluidly diffuse the light on the handcrafted foliage artwork placed around aesthetically.
Noor explains that while researching the Indian market, she felt there was a gap in locally produced creations with a contemporary aesthetic.
“Surrounded by the extraordinary craft skills of Indian artisans, I wanted to bring together products that combined modern-day aesthetic and functionality with traditional craftsmanship,” she adds.
So also, the pieces in the store are all made in India, lending a personal feel to the retail.
“Here, you will also find ethereal products such as plant ecosystems — living, breathing works of art and wonderfully thoughtful, lasting alternatives to flower bouquets,” informs Noor, talking to us about the crystal-infused candles in the store, which channel positivity and come in nine soothing in-house fragrances, as also about the customized monogramming option on lush, organic linens made with the finest flax.
The café is a light-filled sanctuary displaying a wholesome menu for its guests.
It takes after chef Neimat’s ideologies of sustainability and offers simple, seasonal and sustainable options to its guests, aimed at encouraging a healthy connection with nature.
Neimat, a follower of the ‘friends of the earth theory’, which promotes the sustainable use of earth’s resources, explains to us that the menu in the café is seasonal and largely plant-based.
“Yet it features a carefully considered selection of meat, fish and dairy. We use only locally sourced ingredients, organic fruits and vegetables and home-grown herbs. Additionally, the milk we use is A2 grade, lactose-free. Plastics have no place on our planet, and this applies here too. Because we believe that when you can go sustainable, you should,” Neimat explains.
Life during the pandemic
The food and hospitality business has been one of the most severely affected sectors since the lockdown.
The Sethi sisters seem to have gracefully taken that fact on their chin. “Corona has severely impacted the footfall, but that was expected.
Our store and café are now open, and over the last few weeks, the markets have been picking up well. We’ve had our share of roadblocks, but we’ve also received so much love. And now, we look forward to reaching other locations and expanding our sustainable product range,” says Neimat.