The 30,000 sq m Liverpool department store was designed as part of a new era in the company’s pursuit for re-branding itself with the understanding of the new role shopping centers play in today’s society, in which they have become a magnet for social encounters and even cultural exchanges. With an existing circular footprint, the customisation process of fabricating directly from 3D models drove the ideas behind the façade design intent. Speed became a very important factor in the way the project is experienced. Flexibility, fluidity and dynamism drove the design process.
The double-layered façade shelters the store and it’s users from its chaotic environment. It’s sleek stainless steel machine-like exterior, is intended to evolve in a very fluid way as the intense sun bathes it throughout the day. It’s a contradiction to the grit and chaos of its surroundings; a juxtaposition that becomes a new reference for this part of the city. At night the hollow cavity between the layers of the façade is engulfed in light that subtly escapes through the fine reliefs formed at the folds in the skin.
The façade transforms at night from its solid monochromatic appearance during the day to a dynamic form accented by light. The roof terrace contains a park-like setting that can be enjoyed not only by the store visitors but also by the surrounding local community, thus enhancing the social role that the department store plays. The complexity of the project combined with a very tight schedule and a difficult urban site condition, required the combination of a highly skilled design team and collaborators in which the interconnectivity and digital design tools have radically transformed the way we design and construct buildings today.