Categories ArchitecturePosted on

Paul Smith: No. 9 Albemarle Street – the Pattern of Mayfair

Walking along Mayfair, you are always struck by the magnificence of the architectural style of every building. No. 9, Albemarle Street stands out amongst them all: a solemn cast iron façade of a building that has its roots firmly planted in the history of the area, which features on architecture tours of the city. It is the home of Paul Smith’s flagship shop, selling men’s and women’s clothes, accessories and a selection of specially sourced furniture.

Walking along Mayfair, you are always struck by the magnificence of the architectural style of every building. No. 9, Albemarle Street stands out amongst them all: a solemn cast iron façade of a building that has its roots firmly planted in the history of the area, which features on architecture tours of the city. It is the home of Paul Smith’s flagship shop, selling men’s and women’s clothes, accessories and a selection of specially sourced furniture.

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Cast iron is a material with a long tradition in London, forming part of the city’s streets: railings, gratings, balconies, lampposts, street furniture, post boxes… and also for the façade of Paul Smith’s store in Mayfair, designed in 2013 to be revolutionary in the true sense of the word. It looked back in order to go forward. Designed in collaboration with the British firm 6a architects, the impressive and award-winning cast iron façade features a pattern of interlocking circles. The delicate curved lines are echoed in the railings, balconies and manhole covers of Mayfair, and across the city.

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The sweeping Regency curves of the final pattern were drawn from the original 18th Century Georgian townhouse beneath the façade, and from its immediate neighbourhood. The repetition of the typical Regency shape brings an optical complexity with which the play of sunlight and shadow turns the pattern into a deep surface texture. Seen obliquely it seems woven, like a fine cloth.

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Visitors to Paul Smith’s flagship London shop at No. 9 Albemarle Street should examine the façade carefully, to spot the latent makers’ marks of the casting process (all done in a foundry in Braintree, Essex), plus a more intimate discovery: three small drawings sketched by Paul directly into the slowly cooling metal.

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This striking cast iron fronting of Paul Smith’s Mayfair shop has now become a classic design. Originally in cast iron – now in high-quality leather; this intricate pattern is now embossed into the No. 9 collection of small leather goods. Creating a neat parallel, both leather-embossing and iron-casting capture a uniquely British mixture of heavy industry and handcrafted construction. Read more about No. 9 leather goods, and shop the collection here.

www.paulsmith.co.uk

Paul Smith No. 9 Albemarle Street
9 Albemarle Street
Mayfair
London
United Kingdom
W1S 4BL

Seen this week

Categories DesignPosted on

Sculpture in the City, Art for Everyone

SEEN thoroughly enjoyed a preview of the 18 new artworks around the financial district’s square mile. Set up by The City of London in 2010, this excellent initiative expands its footprint every year, improving the area and proving that when people are happy, they work better.

Categories ArtPosted on

Alex Evans at the Foundry Gallery, Chelsea Quarter: LDF17

The astute reader will have noticed that SEEN loves art about London. There are many artists in this city who draw (pun intended) their inspiration from it, none more so than Alex Evans whose fractal renderings hint at the entropic nature of urban life and perhaps also our anxieties and isolation in the 21st century. His latest exhibition ‘Invisible Systems’ can be seen at the Foundry Gallery, tucked away off the King’s Road until 26th October.