The Esprit shop in Sloane Street remodelled an earlier Foster-designed boutique for Joseph. However, where Joseph had located the retail area on the double-height ground floor and used the basement as a stockroom, Esprit required two floors of retail space, which meant opening up the lower level. The spatial solution was to cut a large circular hole in the floor-slab and insert a triangular staircase, which led down to the basement to create a single vertical volume. The staircase was fabricated in mild steel box sections, with treads of sandblasted float glass. Storage space was provided under the pavement on Sloane Street, while the changing rooms were arranged along the Basil Street frontage. Clothes were hung from a light, flexible system of stainless-steel rails and birch-faced panels, and steel ladders with timber treads gave access to merchandise on the higher shelves. Running on rubber wheels, these were attached to a rail at high level, and became an integral, dynamic part of the display.

Facts + Figures

  • Appointment: 1987
  • Completion: 1988