Acne Store Dover Street
A Mayfair townhouse, subverted for cutting-edge fashion
Our project for Acne Studios on Dover Street is the cutting-edge Swedish fashion brand’s first UK store. Opened in 2010, a five-storey Georgian townhouse in Central London was revamped to create a contemporary shopping experience across four connected floors, whilst carefully retaining its street front appearance and historic character.
The townhouse at 13 Dover Street is in the Mayfair Conservation Area. The primary challenge was to reconfigure a complex, compartmentalised building into a single, vertical retail space making use of the whole house. Deceptively simple, our scheme culminates in an unexpected double-height top floor gallery opening onto a new roof garden.
To achieve this, planning permission to change the building’s use to entirely retail was secured, along with a design that involved a complete reconstruction of the building, retaining parts of the facades and excavating the basement. The scheme adds considerably by nearly doubling the floor area with an additional storey and a substantial extension to the rear.
The interior retains a sense of the original proportions albeit with a simplified layout, opened up to allow free movement over four floors. This means there are no visible dividing doors, seamlessly dealing with onerous fire and access regulations of the tall narrow site. At the previously gloomy rear of the building, a spine of circulation is provided by inserting a lift and Douglas Fir staircase, illuminated by natural light spilling in from above. A number of surreal design details colour the minimal feel of spaces with irreverence and wit.
We were originally commissioned to convert the existing townhouse into an art gallery, but Acne Studios came on board midway through the design process and appointed us to complete the scheme as a retail space. The resultant project is enriched by being able to accommodate both of these uses with hints of its domestic past, exploiting this building type’s innate versatility. The building hosted an exhibition by Sarah Lucas before Acne took on the lease. Today, Acne Studios use the lofty top floor as a gallery for personal shopping.
- Mayfair, London
- Project type
- Heritage and adaptation
- Completed 2010
- Floor area