John Lewis Department Store
2009 RIBA Award
2009 Retail Architect of the Year Award
2009 Condé Nast Traveller Design and Innovation Award
Location: Leicester, United Kingdom
Client: Hammerson PLC
Date: 2008 Completion
Total Area: 34,000m2
Budget: £44 million
FOA Partner in charge: Farshid Moussavi
Project Architect: Friedrich Ludewig
Design Team: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Bastian Beilke, Oliver Bridge, Ben Braham, Christoph Dubler, Leo Gallegos, Fabio Giulianini, Stefan Hoerner, Robert Holford, Kensuke Kishikawa, Hikaru Kitai, Homin Kimn, Nicolas Laurent, Roger Meadow, Daniel Moyano, Carmen Sagredo, Maria Schattovich, Lukas Sonderegger, Penny Sperbund, Azizah Sulor, Chris Seung-woo Yoo
Structure: Adams Kara Taylor
Main Contractor: Sir Robert McAlpine
M & E / Fire Services: WSP Group
QS & Project Management: Cyril Sweett
Planning Consultant: Donaldsons LLP
Traffic Engineer: Waterman Burrow Crocker
The Department Store and a Cineplex are located in an existing inner-city retail centre in Leicester. Departing from the conventional opaque retail box, the department store design explores a layered transparency that will allow visual interaction between the store interiors and the city. This is achieved through a double layered skin with a lace-like pattern applied to both layers. This membrane acts like a veil to the department store as well as a sun shading device to the interiors.
The moiré lace not only acts as a technical device, allowing for programmatic flexibility in the interiors whilst opening them to views and natural light, but it also will resonate, with the cultural and historical context of the city as well as with the tenant’s brand: John Lewis. The lace pattern draws on the rich history of Leicester City and John Lewis itself in respect to textile manufacturing and hosiery. The lace pattern printed on the curtain wall was built as a combination of four basic templates that vary in density but always meet at the edges in identical ways. This allows for provision of different degrees of opacity to the interiors as well as giving an appearance of non-repetitive and seamless fabric.
In order to establish synergy between the cinema and department store, the concept of fabric is extended to the Cineplex, whose surface is pleated like a cloth. The Cineplex is a blank envelope enclosing 12 screens with no requirement of any daylight to the interiors, except in the areas of lobbies. The enclosing skin is designed as an opaque stainless steel rain screen which is treated in mirror finish and pleated at different scales to diffuse the large volume into a series of smaller reflective surfaces, animating the blank volume.