Home Client Work Website & e-Commerce Renaissance Antiques

The Challenge
Renaissance is a small antiques and curios shop, selling colonial furniture from in and around Pondicherry as well as rare artifacts from other parts of the country. Having heard of crossroad, the owner contacted us to build him a website. He only had a limited budget and very little knowledge of what was required. It was almost as if he needed a website because everyone he knew, and their cousin had one. He had little in terms of brand identity or company information. And what he could come up with, was woefully inadequate. We soon found out that even the product photographs he had, were taken in a haste with one of those point-and-shoot cameras.

We loved the challenge. How do you build something out of nothing?

The Process
In our first few discussions with the client we realised it was too much for him to figure out how to use a CMS or find ways to update the website with new content. We decided to keep costs down and not do any server-side programming at all. It was strange going back to creating an entirely static website! We hadn't built one of those in a long time.

We started by researching the field of colonial furniture and antiques in general. Once we had a basic site structure in place, we had the copy written in-house, and once that was ready we created a quick prototype for approval. Our designer then provided two distinct design directions using furniture she had lying around as place holder elements.

The logo was created from a stylised version of a chair we saw at the client's workshop.

After a couple of trips to their workshop, shooting photos using a white cloth to mask the backgrounds, we had at least some decent images that we could use in the final site. The design required the products to be cut out from their surroundings and given some subtle adjustments.

The site somehow felt incomplete. We had the usual About, Contact and image gallery sections required on most sites of this nature. Yet, being lovers of fine woodwork and antiques ourselves, we felt it would be great to add a section that would help those new to this field. So we threw in an additional section called "Choosing" to fill this need.

The Result
Even though the project may not have allowed us much room in terms of budget, that was no reason to end up creating something cheap. The site makes extensive use of client-side javascript. The home page is made up of little squares in which close cropped images of furniture parts appear or disappear in random order. Content slides up and down or left and right in reaction to user clicks and mouse overs. The colours, font and imagery, all help in creating a sense of elegance and beauty, which hopefully is in keeping with the beautiful antiques on display.

Seen here, the products page with a thumbnail grid on the right. Clicking on a thumb slides the large version into view. Every page has a large image on the left and text on the right.