Ishana Experience Centre at Departures Terminal -3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi has been conceived by The Spa Group as an ‘experiential’ retail destination that brings together several aspects of Indian heritage. The spa cum retail store showcases India’s expansive knowledge of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda.
As the passengers walk through the airport, the overtly Indian products on display and the Indian music playing in the background lure them into the Ishana centre to explore the diverse elements of India such as, live dance & music performances, henna application, live craft demonstrations, authentic Indian products sourced from the different corners of India and spa therapies inspired by the tenets of Ayurveda & yoga.
The design for Ishana is conceived as a specialty destination that from the very outset engages the customers with its sights, sounds and experiences offered. The space planning takes its inspiration from the ancient Vedic tradition of building human settlements around positively energized spaces like the Kund or a temple. Thus, the experiential store is built around a ‘Healing Pool’ consecrated by Sadhguru – a spiritual master and founder of Isha Foundation, Coimbatore. In fact, the pool forms the most defining feature of the Ishana experience centre, as it is perhaps the only such structure at any airport where the guests are encouraged to sit by or walk in the ankle-deep pool and feel the energized water remove pranic energy blocks in the human system. The water of the pool is energized with mercury lingam, created through a process of yogic alchemy. It acts like a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling airport.
The theme of the interior design of the space is created with the idea of bringing alive the Indian ethos, culture and traditions and is well represented in the choice of materials and finishes. The shabadh stone flooring, wooden pillars and brass bells used at Ishana bring alive the feeling of having entered into a temple. Conscious use of natural wood, decorative wall panels and granite is in accordance with the resolve of using elements inspired by the Indian crafts story. To the extent possible, the store is constructed and embellished without using any material that is considered as environment unfriendly.
The pillars around the ‘Healing Pool’ draw from the traditional colonnade of a Kerala home. The urlis kept at various points, the forest of bells above the pool, use of antique jaalis, metal-tile curtain with traditional motifs and the extensive use of wood & cane furniture and jharokhas sourced from different regions highlight the ‘Indianness’ of the store. The suffused lighting adds to the enchanting environs of Ishana as it creates an ambience that gives its guest an ‘exploratory’ feel. The lack of focus lights lets them get drawn to products that really interest them and gives a feeling of finding a treasure. Also, the selective use of lighting in the jewellery cabinet or the performance stage helps highlights these areas. In all, Ishana in its concept and design is a demonstration of the wide spectrum of Indian culture and heritage and the holistic lifestyle intrinsic for human wellbeing.