Wednesday 07 Sep 2011


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Gabellini Sheppard Associates completes luxury retail emporium in White City, London

Conceived as a meandering street of shops, the Village embodies the idea of a luxurious urban lifestyle. It comprises a six-level, 14,000-sm luxury retail and leisure emporium connected to Westfield London, a 100,000-sm retail center completed in 2008.

The Village environment is infused with light, sculptural space, and the ever-evolving spectacle of premium goods and culture. Defined by two elliptical volumes with undulating shopfront elevations, it also features amenities such as a champagne lounge, valet parking service, personal shopping, and leisure and spa facilities.

Shopfronts, rising 7.5 m high from floor to ceiling on the upper levels, are lit from above and below as they wrap around the curving galleria. London’s tradition of bespoke luxury and street shopping inspires the consistent yet flexible program of spatial framing and shopfront architecture. The individually tailored character of each designer address is unified within a narrative of sweeping visual harmony. Conveying a layered brand expression, the shopfronts with winding ribbons of light epitomize the dynamic, sculptural modernity that is the signature of the Village.

The material palette includes curving plaster walls, gradating terrazzo flooring, amber metal portals, and optical layered glass. As a sliced geode reveals its shimmering interior when opened, the material elements of the galleria and shopfronts coalesce in space to create alluring moments of reflection and refraction.

This crystalline marketplace thus entices shoppers to enter from the outside in, but radiates energy from the inside out. The Village offers a contemporary interpretation of a traditional urban shopping typology, the great 19th-century gallerias of London, Milan, and Paris.

The evolution of the 21st-century Emporium engenders a cosmopolitan umbrella; or a revolving world of distraction, delight, and performance that consummates the attraction between luxury buyer and brand.