FASHION _ This week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has demonstrated that architects really do add value to projects of any size, as sales in stores on Regent Street spike as a result of the RIBA Regent Street Windows Project.
This innovative enterprise, which is now in its fourth year, matches a diverse range of cutting-edge RIBA architects with international fashion brands to create eye-catching retail displays, showing that architects can work at any scale, from something as small as a window to something as large as an entire building.
This RIBA initiative, that runs until 6 May 2013, puts architects’ work right in the public eye, engaging a vast and varied audience with their cutting-edge designs as an average 1.2 million people walk along Regent Street every week. The project has also helped to foster on-going partnerships and collaborations between architects and fashion brands and has already created new job opportunities for emerging talent.
The six participating window installations are Topshop by NEON, who has created a real buzz on the street as well as online, in blogs and via word of mouth. The bold neon yellow structure presents a collection of 14 traditional window mannequins in an arresting mechanical display in the main window. It dominates the streetscape at Oxford Circus, whilst simultaneously allowing the full colour spectrum of the Topshop spring summer range to be viewed in a surreal dance above customer’s heads.
‘The The Magic Garden’ installation by Mamou-Mani Architects cleverly compliments the spring summer Karen Millen collection whilst seamlessly linking the full run of 8 windows of the Karen Millen Store with one stunning fluid form. Using digital and physical modelling, the architect worked in collaboration with Karen Millen’s in-house atelier to test and shape the light-diffusing mesh fabric and maximise its structural qualities. The installation’s floral forms were dyed to match the fabrics used in Karen Millen garments. The result demonstrates the precision of both tailoring and architecture and echoes the touch of fun, colour and lightness of the new spring summer range.
Gensler’s window installation is an immersive representation of the Ferrari experience. A hand-crafted glowing model of a beating heart represents the passion, love, tradition and heritage of the Ferrari brand, whilst the technological prowess, modernity and innovation, are illustrated via a pulsating brain, both of which can be heard from the street.
This multimedia display uses a potent mix of 3 dimensional organic sculptures, sound and 3D technology designed by Gensler and its partners Icon and George Singer.
California Wave set inside the entrance to Esprit, naganJohnson architects’ installation takes customers back to the sunny summer of ’68, the year the Esprit business was founded in California, with a coastal sand-dune landscape and a dramatic giant beach wave that curls up through two floors of the Regent Street store. The chestnut palings used to create the waves are commonly used around the world from Camber Sands to San Diego to stabilize sand dunes and recall summer holidays from around the globe. www.naganjohnson.co.uk
Referencing Jack Spade’s New York origins, Carl Turner Architects have sampled architectural details, fragments and facades from Greene Street, Soho, New York to create an architectural ‘collection’ in the London Soho store window, mirroring Jack Spade's curatorial approach to the Americana displays found inside. The shop is announced with a giant vinyl graphic of a New York fire escape extending up the façade of the building on Brewer Street.
The design of AY Architects is a three-dimensional interlocking patterned screen inspired by the herringbone stitch, commonly used as a classic motif of the Moss Bros brand. The perforated layers of the installation create a glowing volume that plays with light and shadows throughout the day and at night.
Photo courtesy RIBA