Does it suit?
The building itself could not be overlooked in determining how the space would speak to a contemporary, sophisticated, masculine market: once a private residence for George 111’s commissioner of customs, Lord Fairfax, and later base for the distinguished Royal Geographic Society, this townhouse has been occupied by Gieves and Hawkes since 1913. Choosing iron and brass clothing rails; custom built display cases; lounge chairs modelled in Jean-Michel Frank style; smoked oak display tables, the space, according to Wallpaper mag. has a certain ‘gravitas. It’s serious but not boring.’
The detailing and craftsmanship of Gieves and Hawkes, evident in their tailoring and shoe-making, is reflected in the care taken in the designs for the new fittings and furniture, all hand-drawn and nurtured by UK craftspeople. Contemporary lighting by Lightpan, with light boxes displaying bespoke uniforms and artistic objects on walls and the staircase.
And the mirrors? Well, a touch of reflective brilliance on the part of Hastings to bring the William Kent room and fireplace to life in a dynamic and eye-catching manner with ‘Hurricane’, as well as a second piece above the fireplace in the tailoring room. A nod to Fredrikson and Stallard's Crush series, ‘Hurricane’ is created from mirror polished aluminium, hand crushed by the designers. Its form is reminiscent of a Gehry building and equally deceptive as hard and usually unresponsive material is made to look like a crumpled pocket handkerchief.
The Avalanche Mirror, made from silver foiled glass and patinated steel is situated at the entrance on the ground floor and can been viewed from street level. A relief, topographical-like study, hand crafted from individual shards of mirrored glass, it appears as a landscape you could walk into, dangerous with its jagged shards, yet fascinating like the inside of a crystal or, perhaps, a shattered iceberg.
The deliberate curating is apparent, the iron and brass and splintered glass, in no way detracting from the theme, the cultured branding, the plush furnishings and soft colours. Contemporary designers walk easily across boundaries between the gallery and the store and, in this case, I think it does suit.
Natalia Rachlin, Wallpaper Magazine.