Piccadilly’s Grade II listed Princes House gets a full refurbishment.

June 30, 2018
June 30, 2018 rockhunter

A thoroughly enjoyable appointment by The Crown Estate, to work on the refurbishment of Princes House and the Princes Arcade, by Rolfe Judd Architects. We worked closely with Rolfe Judd on multiple design iterations of both Piccadilly (inclusive of Bafta HQ) and Jermyn Street facades, and the shopping arcade connecting the two.

Rolfe Judd’s proposal looks to reinstate a sympathetic architectural language lost when low level elements were rebuilt in the 1930s, whilst also adding a classy face lift to the shopping arcade itself.

Originally built to house the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, it seemed like a fitting tribute when The Crown Estate appointed abstract artist Andrew Bick to design the canopy to the arcade. Andrew Bick’s layered grid style aesthetic, was translated into a lattice of different material qualities and translucency all elevated by light projections back through the grids, cast onto the facade and pavement.

Our focus on this project prior to Andrew’s appointment had been to integrate Rolfe Judd’s scheme as sympathetically as possible. Creating shop interiors suited to the long established independent boutique appeal of the area, and the inclusion of people befitting the demographic. The addition of the artwork added an extra layer of sophistication to the scheme.

“The piece would subtly dissolve in to the building’s general features in muted daylight; be strongly visible as shadow and colour in sunlight; and then provide a dynamic asymmetrical grid under carefully designed artificial lighting when seen at night. In this way it echoes fundamental principles of architecture by both animating and being animated by light, space and movement.” – Andrew Bick

The final chapter of the Prince’s story was to market the units to potential occupants. Wordsearch had prepared a very strong set of brand guidelines which aimed to “…contrast sober tailoring with flamboyant detail, formal correctness with irreverence, and traditional craftsmanship with technology.” Our job was to interpret these guidelines, and apply the correct shop fit-outs along with a demographic befitting the target audience. This was a very niche market and presented many challenges, but eventually we found a solution that satisfied Shaftesbury’s vision for the new arcade.

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