In 1994 I won a limited competition to design a major re-fit of top Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes at their flagship store No.1 Savile Row (which also extended into No.2). At that time the brief was for a more traditional and classical interior but still to retain a fashionable and stylish look. For the conception, I drew inspiration from the interiors of the Regency period – the heyday of Beau Brummel’s influence – hence references in the architecture to Savile Row’s worldwide influence in the world of bespoke tailoring. Being the flagship store it was naturally an expensive bespoke installation using the highest quality materials, workmanship and attention to detail, reflecting their approach to tailoring.
In 1997 Chief Executive Mark Henderson asked me to design principal stores for Gieves & Hawkes in the City of London, Chester and Bath. The brief was to produce interiors using the same classical approach and detailing as those of No.l Savile Row. These stores were, and are, very successful. In 2000, I was asked to develop designs which would be more flexible, easier to use, quicker to change the display by unskilled staff, more contemporary but still reflect the Savile Row traditions, able to present Gieves & Hawkes stores as a consistent Archiectural Brand Image worldwide.
As a result, I designed and developed a Shopfitting Design Manual for Gieves & Hawkes which comprises drawings, photographs, specifications and descriptions, furniture and furnishings, lighting, signage, and other architectural details. Since then, using the Design Manual, I have designed over 120 stores and concessions worldwide including China, Dubai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Ireland and the UK.
The culture/design philosophy of the Architectural Brand Image
Like the clothes, the interiors should be classic, contemporary and fashionable; draw on and make reference to their heritage eg. military, bespoke, Savile Row; have a slightly (but not too) eccentric Englishness; have high quality materials found in traditional shops; mahogany units, old pine board or English oak wide floorboards; have antique items (not too many) – chairs, shop counters, lamps, railings which have an attention to fine detail but are occasionally throwaway; feel comfortable and accessible without customers necessarily knowing why (proportion, harmony, careful composition, some – but not too much – symmetry). I also drew a number of cartoons for Gieves & Hawkes which were hung in the fitting rooms of the stores all round the world and I often wonder what the customers made of them!