Gabriela Hearst, the sustainable global fashion brand has opened its first London outpost, designed by Foster + Partners. Having created a pioneering model for ecologically responsible clothing and accessories, the New York-based label’s first London store is underpinned by a similar sustainable ethos and care for the environment in its materiality and operation.
I was inspired by Gabriela’s tireless commitment to sustainability, which fits perfectly with our own enthusiasm for design that demonstrates concern for the environment. The store echoes this approach by using local and recycled materials, to create an inviting experience for customers.
Located on the corner of Brook Street and Davies Street, the two-storey store occupies a prime site in the heart of London’s West End. To preserve the transparency and unencumbered views of the interior, the store windows do not display mannequins or products but frame the interiors as two distinct settings – a clothing section that contains bespoke racks and relaxed lounge seating and another space featuring accessories and knitwear. The interior spaces are designed to flow seamlessly, creating a relaxed experience where the clothing and accessories are the primary protagonist.
The materials palette throughout the store comprises sustainably sourced or recycled elements and avoids the use of harmful chemicals in their production. The reclaimed oak wood floor was sourced from military barracks in Shropshire and the fabric wall panelling is made from linen, which is low in embodied energy. The majority of the furniture is made from London Plane timber sourced from a tree that fell during a storm in Lincoln.
The clothes rails, coffee table, knitwear cabinet and shelving units have also been designed by the practice and manufactured by Benchmark. They feature integrated LED lighting, vegetable tanned leather and accented with rose gold edging – a signature colour for Gabriela Hearst. The soft curves and warm materiality of the furniture pieces echo the comfortable and relaxed aesthetic of the entire interior.
The basement features a more intimate lounge area with changing rooms and additional display spaces all enveloped with London Plane timber panelling.