Situated within the Smithson’s listed Economist Building this retail unit, on the ground floor of the Bank Building in Smithson’s Plaza, suffered all the challenges a Grade II* listed building can offer. The design needed to remain sensitive to its Brutalist origins, whilst appealing to visitors, and functional, whilst being compact and multi-facetted. Additionally, the restrictions on the sale of tobacco meant most of the products could not be displayed to entice entry. The site chosen for the new retail unit, which was formerly an estate agent, had a considerable number of challenges for us.
Alterations to 23a St James’s Street included:
• External improvements and restorations to the original features,
• The installation of chrome feature display shelving that encased the perimeter of the unit, that integrated a sales point, stock storage, ventilation and 12 personal cigar lockers,
• The creation of a glass fronted walk-in Humidor that allows for nearly 360 degrees of stunning product displays, with climate and humidity controls,
• A new sales floor and sampling area,
• An illuminated glass feature light within the retail space and a new lighting design.
Both the humidor and the retail floor area have an impressive and very quiet smoke filtration system. This involved the addition of a very high specification HVAC ventilation system and associated ducting, concealed in perimeter boxing at a high level, with nothing visible or audible from the street.
Externally, along with the restoration work, new window displays were created, which needed to serve a dual function, display product and attract customers, but also, in accordance with SSI 2013/85, prevent any display of the tobacco products inside. This was achieved by layering displays of Spirits and Cigar accessories.
Plans for the future at St James’s include cigar sampling, whisky tastings and events to add to retail which means the space has to work hard and be flexible.
Watch this space for future projects…