Menswear brand L’Estrange London tapped British designer Fred Rigby to design its biophilic new Coal Drops Yard store in King’s Cross, London, which feels like an urban meadow.
L’Estrange London is known for its ‘conscious-consumption’ model and Re–fresh, 2022, which seeks to expand the lifespan of clothing and reduce landfill waste. Co-founders Tom Horne and Will Green enlisted biophilic design expert Oliver Heath to consult on a brand-wide experiential blueprint for all of L’Estrange’s retail spaces that Rigby has masterfully translated via sensitive sensory interventions within the historic brick framework of the former coal deposit.
The Coal Drop Yards were built in the mid-19th century to handle eight million tonnes of coal deposited in the capital each year. The twin warehouses underwent radical adaptive reuse in October 2018, courtesy of Thomas Heatherwick, which left much of the building’s fibre intact while opening its barrel-vaulted spaces up for new use as retail spaces.
A brick arch soars overhead while furniture and interior dividers have been fabricated from London plane trees, sourced from Fallen & Felled, which repurposes felled and diseased trees into sustainable hardwood timber.
At the heart of the space is The Meadow, conceived by botanical designer Lottie Delamain, from natural dried blooms and grasses – a nod to the flax and fibres of L’Estrange’s collection – which adds natural tones and a gentle fragrance to the retail space.
Walls are plastered in rough unfired clay, mixed with minerals and pigments to produce texture and tone. The changing rooms meanwhile feature ‘forest sound speakers’ – broadcasting an ambient lifestream from The SAFE Project, which uses field recordings from natural ecosystems to explore the impact of human industry on biodiversity. It evokes the ‘ambience of a tranquil spa’ alongside Japanese paper lanterns that produce a soft diffused glow.
Stable Street, Coal Drop’s Yard, N1C 4FQ