19 mayo 2004
The brief for Foster and Partners was to design The Asprey flagship store and Headquarters inside and out. The design approach builds on the best of Asprey past as it is embodied in the fabric of the buildings and the history of the company, its values and craftsmanship. Existing product lines are consolidated and new ranges have been introduced. The expanded store creates a contemporary setting that mirrors the qualities of a British Luxury Lifestyle.
Behind the iconic nineteenth century cast-iron faade of its New Bond Street store was a discontinuous array of properties facing onto Grafton and Albermarle Streets. Over the past 160 years, the original premises had been expanded to include 5 separate historically listed buildings. This complex also housed The Asprey silver and leather workshops and administrative spaces.
The greatest challenge was to link these disparate buildings, each with its own independent levels, into a coherent sequence of retail spaces. The back of these historic structures was an undiscovered world. By clearing previous roof structures, restoring the Georgian faades, and covering the space with a delicate steel and glass roof, a new courtyard was created at the heart of the store. Here the complex is made legible with a sweeping spiral stair that connect levels and offer changing perspectives of the old and new.
An original mezzanine was removed from the prime space on the New Bond Street frontage, which allowed the scale and grandeur of the space to relate to its historic faade. A range of display cases has been designed for the store framed in bronze. The palette of materials is limited to venetian plaster, hardwoods, leather, stone and carpet.
Norman Foster asked the interior decorator David Mlinaric to collaborate on the colours, decorations and fabrics of the historic rooms of the Bond Street Store. He was also responsible for the period furniture chosen to complement the Foster design for the interior of the new 20,000 sq.ft. Asprey store on Fifth Avenue, New York. Its distinctive three storey high faade with sculpted white and black panels, crystal glass and curved bow windows is evocative of the classic Bond Street frontage but at the scale of Fifth Avenue.
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