Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London

Coal Drops Yard, London King’s Cross Buildings, British Commercial Interior Redevelopment, Images

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London

Interior Architecture Redevelopment in UK – design by Studio MUTT

15 Nov 2018

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard

Architects: Studio MUTT

Location: Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ, England, UK

Studio MUTT completes new Universal Works store at Coal Drops Yard store with theatrical mirrored wall

Universal Works’ store at Coal Drops Yard is the second in the Universal Works and Studio MUTT creative relationship, following the Soho store at 26 Berwick Street.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

The architecture aims to retain and exaggerate the character of the existing building, revitalised by Argent and Heatherwick Studio. The project consists of a series of large sculptural insertions: a theatrical full-height mirrored wall set at 45 degrees to the space, green metal hanging and shelving units clamped to cast-iron beams, monumental red cedar blocks and long linear light fittings.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

Studio MUTT were appointed by Universal Works in late 2017 to act as architect and creative partner for their future stores. The brief was to determine how an approach to clothing can translate into an approach to architecture. Studio MUTT developed a functional and vibrant style that responds to the layout out the building and could be tailored to subsequent sites. Coal Drops Yard is the second in the collaboration following the Soho store at 26 Berwick Street.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

The store is located in Coal Drops Yard, a new landmark development and conversion of two 19th century railway buildings by Argent and Heatherwick Studio’s in Kings Cross. Studio MUTT’s design retains and enhances the industrial character of the archway space by exposing as much of the existing building as possible and inserting individual joinery items where needed.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

A bold and honest material approach was chosen to compliment the original interior: everyday, commercial materials, such as Unistrut channels and Kingspan aluminium raised access floor systems, have been used as distinctive finished surfaces.

The stand-out feature of the store is a 4 metre tall mirrored wall set at 45 degrees that both separates front and back of house, and adds a creative illusion of volume and depth to the space. This is animated through three pivot doors, the main one being on a central pivot and able to rotate through 360 degrees, adding a sense of theatre to the banality of back of house storage. The reverse of the wall is lined in green-stained oak, which also continues to envelope the changing rooms and adds warmth and texture to these intimate areas.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

Lighting from bespoke linear fittings, designed in collaboration with Inessa Demidova, lighting designer, is uniform and bright and offers an alternative to the warm spotlights often used in retail. The fittings sit between Victorian cast iron beams and exaggerate the grid of the building. Like the joinery elements, they are monumental insertions into the unit.

Merchandise is displayed on green powder-coated Unistrut hanging and shelving modules, clamped to the Victorian beams above. The range of vibrant greens used are reminiscent of equipment in the mills and factories so influential to the collections of Universal Works. Loose items are displayed on large red cedar blocks, fabricated by Gareth Neal, which come together to create sculptural forms for displaying folded garments and act as monumental moth-repellent blocks.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

Architect’s View – Studio MUTT
It is a privilege to work with a client who truly understands the importance of design, and we greatly value the freedom given to us by Universal Works to challenge their brief and test ideas. To deliver a project on such a prestigious site as Coal Drops Yard has been a fantastic experience and we are now looking forward to the next fruit of this collaboration and new friendship with Universal Works, led by David Keyte and Stephanie Porritt.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

Clients View – Universal Works
When we first made our decision to be a part of the prodigious development, Coal Drops Yard, we knew it was vital to appoint an architect, and the right one.

Whilst we had no particular practise in mind we knew the most important thing for us was someone that understood the UW aesthetic and the spirit of the company. A timely but chance meeting in our store helped our choice of Studio MUTT. We liked their ideas and creative energy, and it certainly helped they were wearing Universal Works.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard – Building Information

Client: Universal Works
Architect: Studio MUTT
Lighting Designer: Inessa Demidova
Address: Coal Drops Yard, London N1C 4DQ
Completion: October 2018
Gross Internal area: 77 sqm
Contract type: Bespoke (12 week duration)
Construction cost: £125,000 (£1625/m²)
Contractor: 19 (joinery); Five Star (electrical services); Coolaction (mechanical services)
Software: Vectorworks

About Studio MUTT
Studio MUTT is an award-winning architecture practice established in 2017 by Graham Burn, James Crawford and Alexander Turner, with roots in London and Liverpool. The studio operates internationally in arts, culture and retail sectors with an underlying mission to create characterful projects which are unique, specific and joyful. Recently completed projects include Out of Character, an installation at the Sir John Soane Museum, and Inn Bloom, a floral British inn in Mexico City for AMD2018 festival.

Projects are developed through a range of media, from drawings to films, models to prototypes, and this approach is translated in to built form through the use of a collage of unexpected and re-imagined materials. The extremely familiar becomes the perfectly peculiar.

About Universal Works
Universal Works produces modern menswear; real honest clothing based on fit and good design, not over design.

Founded in late 2008 by David Keyte and Stephanie Porritt, Universal Works was conceived out of a desire to create something from scratch with the first collection presented to the market for Autumn / Winter ’09. In the early seasons, Universal Works HQ was the kitchen at home with the lounge doubling up as a warehouse. Everything came through the house, from fabric and trims to finished garments.

Things have changed over the last 9 years and Universal Works HQ now occupies a large workspace in Nottingham. With design and photography studios and a sizeable warehouse on site, the space is populated by like-minded people working together on all aspects of the brand, from designing the collections, managing retail and distribution to styling shoots and campaigns.

Working together under one roof and under some guiding principles chiefly, good design, not over-design, maintain quality whilst maintaining an affordable price.

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross London

Photography: MUTT © FRENCH + TYE

Universal Works x Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London images / information received 151118

Previously on e-architect:

26 Oct 2018
Coal Drops Yard
Design: Heatherwick Studio
Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross
photograph © Hufton+Crow

Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London


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