Project
Fortnum & Mason Concept Store, St Pancras

Location
London, United Kingdom

Completed
2013

Interior Design
Universal Design Studio

Photographer
James Newton
Type
Leisure and Retail

Discipline
Architecture + Environment




On Friday 8 November 2013, Fortnum & Mason opened a new store for the first time in more than 300 years. Situated near the Kings Cross St Pancras international gateway, it is ideally positioned to introduce a new generation of travellers to the wonders of Fortnum & Mason.

In designing the store, Universal Design Studio worked to capture the quintessentially British spirit of the brand, while making it relevant to the modern customer. Speirs + Major were tasked with providing a design for the light that would enhance the ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ customer experiences: the quiet pleasure inherent in the ‘tea experience’ scaled to suit the time constraints of the busy traveller. The functional and visual experience of the light is intended to enhance the core values of originality and engaging service, rooted in tradition and ritual.

Approach

The project ran to an extremely tight time frame, with just 5 months from concept to completion.

Designer Clementine Rodgers says:

“We found it really interesting walking around the existing Fortnum & Mason store with the retail managers to understand what they really need from a light in relation to their brand and approach to merchandise layouts. The existing building is quite restrictive in how one can deliver accent lighting. In the new store, we were less restricted and could add accent lighting to enrich the character of the space in addition to a background level of light. ‘Character’ pendants create the illusion of being the primary source of light as one might expect, but the reality is a very integrated approach of light in furniture.”

From the outside the store is striking. The two ‘aisles’ that make up the space are framed by brick archways that have been softly uplit to reveal form and texture. The eye is drawn through the space by the linear elements of the feature clock, and the row of suspended white glass globe pendant lights, through to brightly illuminated focal points on the end walls.

A large and relatively clear space creates a welcoming entrance for those with bags, with a small area of freestanding shelves. Larger versions of these bespoke shelving units are also positioned deeper within the store, featuring random glowing ‘cells’ that are created by integrated light pads beneath the products. These lit cells allow the retailer to highlight specific product, and provide depth and variety. Another accent of light on the feature product displays is provided by concealed linear uplights on top of the high shelving. A series of bespoke wooden retail display shelves located under the brick arches contain the carefully curated rows of famous jars and containers. These are washed with light from bracket-mounted luminaires, chosen to tie in with the brass luggage rack rails in the dining area.

The remainder of the right aisle is the retail and service zone. High level spotlighting accents the display cases and a counter area that runs along the length of the right hand wall. This aisle culminates in the brightly lit hamper feature wall.

The left aisle is focussed on hospitality. The striking feature clock is suspended from the retail area at the front, under the brick arches and into the dining area, and is based on a design from the 1860s when St Pancras first opened. The two clock faces sit at opposite ends of an ‘exploded’ mechanism that is highlighted by a narrow beam spotlight. The clock is intended to provide a figurative connection to the Piccadilly store, which also known for it’s feature clock.

At the end of the aisle, a serving ‘hatch’ reinforces the hospitality focus. This opens on to the tea salon. Here, banquette seating with low surrounds is lit by wall-mounted globes set on custom brass backing plates. These are intended to create a sense of intimacy within the tall space, while referencing to the elegant style of period train carriage luminaires.

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