Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard

Architect
Studio MUTT
Location
Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ, UK | View Map
Project Year
2018
Category
Showrooms
FRENCH+TYE

New Universal Works store at Coal Drops Yard store with theatrical mirrored wall

Studio MUTT as Architects

Universal Works’ store at Coal Drops Yard is the second in the Universal Works and Studio MUTT creative relationship, following the Soho store at 26 Berwick Street. The architecture aims to retain and exaggerate the character of the existing building, revitalised by Argent and Heatherwick Studio. The project consists of a series of large sculptural insertions: a theatrical full-height mirrored wall set at 45 degrees to the space, green metal hanging and shelving units clamped to cast-iron beams, monumental red cedar blocks and long linear light fittings.


Project Description

Studio MUTT were appointed by Universal Works in late 2017 to act as architect and creative partner for their future stores. The brief was to determine how an approach to clothing can translate into an approach to architecture. Studio MUTT developed a functional and vibrant style that responds to the layout out the building and could be tailored to subsequent sites. Coal Drops Yard is the second in the collaboration following the Soho store at 26 Berwick Street.


The store is located in Coal Drops Yard, a new landmark development and conversion of two 19th century railway buildings by Argent and Heatherwick Studio’s in Kings Cross. Studio MUTT’s design retains and enhances the industrial character of the archway space by exposing as much of the existing building as possible and inserting individual joinery items where needed


A bold and honest material approach was chosen to compliment the original interior: everyday, commercial materials, such as Unistrut channels and Kingspan aluminium raised access floor systems, have been used as distinctive finished surfaces.


The stand-out feature of the store is a 4 metre tall mirrored wall set at 45 degrees that both separates front and back of house, and adds a creative illusion of volume and depth to the space. This is animated through three pivot doors, the main one being on a central pivot and able to rotate through 360 degrees, adding a sense of theatre to the banality of back of house storage. The reverse of the wall is lined in green-stained oak, which also continues to envelope the changing rooms and adds warmth and texture to these intimate areas.


Lighting from bespoke linear fittings, designed in collaboration with Inessa Demidova, lighting designer, is uniform and bright and offers an alternative to the warm spotlights often used in retail. The fittings sit between Victorian cast iron beams and exaggerate the grid of the building. Like the joinery elements, they are monumental insertions into the unit.


Merchandise is displayed on green powder-coated Unistrut hanging and shelving modules, clamped to the Victorian beams above. The range of vibrant greens used are reminiscent of equipment in the mills and factories so influential to the collections of Universal Works. Loose items are displayed on large red cedar blocks, fabricated by Gareth Neal, which come together to create sculptural forms for displaying folded garments and act as monumental moth-repellent blocks.


Architect’s View - Studio MUTT

It is a privilege to work with a client who truly understands the importance of design, and we greatly value the freedom given to us by Universal Works to challenge their brief and test ideas. To deliver a project on such a prestigious site as Coal Drops Yard has been a fantastic experience and we are now looking forward to the next fruit of this collaboration and new friendship with Universal Works, led by David Keyte and Stephanie Porritt.


Clients View - Universal Works

When we first made our decision to be a part of the prodigious development, Coal Drops Yard, we knew it was vital to appoint an architect, and the right one.


Whilst we had no particular practise in mind we knew the most important thing for us was someone that understood the UW aesthetic and the spirit of the company. A timely but chance meeting in our store helped our choice of Studio MUTT. We liked their ideas and creative energy, and it certainly helped they were wearing Universal Works.

Our brief was simple, to be modern and original whilst being sympathetic to the existing building; we think they really nailed it with a stunning design.


Working with Studio MUTT, with their calm confidence and professionalism has been a genuinely exciting and enjoyable experience.


Project Credits
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct name
FurnitureInvestwood
Aluminium raised access floor systemsKingspan Group
ManufacturersSCHLÜTER SYSTEMS
Product Spec Sheet
Aluminium raised access floor systems
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