In the heart of London’s King’s Cross, nestled within the historic Coal Drops Yard shopping centre, a menswear boutique has emerged as a harmonious blend of nature and sustainable design.
Lestrange, a men’s fashion brand, has unveiled its fourth outpost, designed by the local practice Fred Rigby Studio, under the guidance of biophilic design expert Oliver Heath.
This unique retail space was conceived to foster a profound connection with the outdoors, embodying Lestrange’s commitment to sustainability by utilizing renewable and recycled materials in the production of their clothing. Fred Rigby Studio’s eponymous founder explains their vision, stating, “We wanted to create a sense of calm within the space, which didn’t feel like a generic shop but an interior which told a story behind the clothing and the brand’s ethos.”
One of the most captivating aspects of the boutique is the infusion of forest sounds and furnishings crafted from storm-stricken trees. London plane timber – harvested from “storm-stricken and diseased trees” within a few miles of King’s Cross – was used to form the partitions that define the store’s display and changing areas, as well as some bespoke furniture pieces. This immersive experience transports visitors into a serene woodland atmosphere, providing a stark contrast to the bustling urban surroundings.
The studio ingeniously incorporated the historic brick structure of the Coal Drops Yard into their design. Utilizing reclaimed and natural materials, Rigby carefully curated an array of elements that evoke a sense of authenticity and sustainability. In a world filled with new, mass-produced materials, the choice to embrace reclaimed and natural materials presented a challenge. Still, it perfectly aligns with Lestrange’s philosophy of longevity and environmental responsibility.
British manufacturer Clayworks blended unfired clays with minerals and natural pigments to create the tactile wall finishes, while the terrazzo-style countertops were made by Welsh company Smile Plastics using a mix of recycled plastics from discarded mobile phone casings and chopping boards.
As the ultimate counterpoint to the mass and severity of the brick, Rigby conceived the idea of an indoor meadow that meanders through the Lestrange store.
The arrangement of natural dried flowers and grasses was realised by award-winning garden designer Lottie Delamain, integrating a carefully chosen mix of species to reflect the fibres commonly used in apparel manufacture such as cotton and flax.
“We wanted to bring nature inside, using plants linked to the clothes while creating a touch point to the materiality,” said Rigby.
The King’s Cross boutique’s design celebrates the rich history of the Coal Drops Yard while redefining it for the future. The integration of biophilic design elements not only connects shoppers with nature but also serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of sustainable practices in the world of fashion and retail.
Clothes are displayed on simple white metal rails and the capacious open-topped dressing rooms feature speakers playing forest sounds, complemented by discreet wall lights that cast a subtle glow.
There are also subtle nods to Japanese design in the form of the rice paper lampshades that float at varying heights throughout the store.
Rigby Studio and Lestrange, fashion and nature converge, creating an unforgettable shopping experience in the heart of London.
Images by Felix Speller via Dezeen
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