The new Burberry flagship store, London
Space as a sign of identity
In 1957, Adriano Olivetti commissioned to architect Carlo Scarpa the project of the Olivetti store in St Mark's square in Venice. According to the entrepreneur's intention, the new space would become the brand's "business card" in the city and in the rest of the world. Its completion took two years, and during that time Scarpa supervised every single detail, from the execution of the project to the finishing touches. The concept behind the store was that this "business card" would showcase the attention to details of the craftsman, together with the brand's state-of-the-art technology.
Fifty years after, and seven hundred miles away, in London, Carlo Scarpa's principles became a source of inspiration for the remodelling of the Burberry Regent Street store, this time around with a broader space and more advanced technology. Just like its predecessor, the project was completed in two years.
Christopher Bailey, Burberry's art director since 2001, is the man behind the transformation of the flagship store of the British fashion brand, a 19th century building located in 121 Regent Street. Son of a carpenter, and with a renown attention to details, Bailey put through an intense work of supervision of every aspect of the project.
The result is a new space with a balanced combination of high quality craftsmanship and the latest digital technology. The marble and oak wood parquet floors and the Georgian sofas help create a refined space, complemented by a 22-feet tall screen showing the latest Burberry collection, or by the possibility to customize its items through the use of a simulator.
The main role of lighting
The intention of the project was to take the most advantage of the natural light that filters through the holes of the facade and the dome at the centre. Artificial lighting on the other hand, relied on the renovation and replication of large period lighting fixtures, whose function is mainly decorative. This type of lighting is complemented by horizontal lamps, which were discreetly placed on top of hanging metal structures running along the interior frame. This combination allowed to achieve a uniform and balanced lighting, avoiding the conflict between different types of lights.
The overall result is a bright and clean space. The quality and care that were put in each detail made the best use of the potential of the building, in harmony with its historical value and its new function. That is indeed a principle that Burberry's art director has been able to apply across the board so far: transforming the classic British essence into something modern and groundbreaking, without losing the values of handcrafted quality.