Harvey Nichols’ new space in The Mailbox, Birmingham, is the blueprint for all future stores – and it’s impressive.
Thirty minutes after design agency Virgile + Partners pitched their concept to Harvey Nichols chief executive Stacey Cartwright, they got the call to tell them they had won. A little over a year later, the vision has been revealed in a 45,000 sq ft space that is all on one floor, save for a mezzanine that houses beauty salons.
Anita Barr, head of fashion at Harvey Nichols, tells Drapers that the designers’ ideas chimed almost exactly with the concept Cartwright’s senior team was imagining. For the agency, founder Carlos Virgile reveals that what was originally agreed is almost exactly what has come to fruition: “Often in the process of realising a project the design ideas are watered down, but this did not happen with Harvey Nichols. The main thing we all knew is that we did not want it to look like a department store.”
In simple terms, this store thinks it’s a luxury boutique. Individuality runs across so many features, from the 5m-high ceiling with its opaque polycarbonate panels to the variety of wall surfaces and 10,760 sq ft of custom-cut variegated marble for the main walkway. Each fixture and piece of furniture has been custom-built or sourced and surfaces range from plywood to copper.
The store opened on July 31, but the full impact will not be realised until work on The Mailbox mall is completed in September when the front door, which features a digital screen rather than windows, will be unveiled. Expect a lot of retailers to be visiting this store for their ideas.