Building Tour: The Department Store, Squire and Partners
The Department Store, a development by architects Squire and Partners, revives a local Brixton landmark to create a series of collaborative workspaces supported by an evolving hub of creative, retail and community uses. Originally built in 1906 as an annexe to the Bon Marche department store, the design of the reimagined space has been informed by the existing fabric and layers of history.
Collaborating with craftspeople and furniture makers, the restored building provides an exciting array of spaces for the various design disciplines within the practice. Externally, designs reversed years of neglect – revealing original brickwork, stone, marble and terracotta – and reactivated the street level through animation and display. A new social rooftop level comprises a series of oak framed pavilions topped with copper shingle, and a crafted glass dome replaces a dilapidated existing cupola.
Original interior elements such as 111 year old mahogany and teak parquet flooring, a grand tiled staircase and a patina of colours documenting the building’s history were preserved. A series of voids cut through the building create dramatic volumes, and provide vistas between levels. Office workspaces reveal the many facets of design undertaken by the practice and celebrate the process of craft and making.