RIBA Regent street window project 2016: Best Architect
RIBA Regent street window project 2016: Best Brand - Liberty
Features: The Telegraph, Dezeen, Wallpaper, LRB, Creative Review, Architecture Journal, RIBAJ, Design Weekly
'The best Liberty windows collaboration in the last 10 years!' Liz Silvester (Head of Visual Identity)
'The best windows of all are at Liberty; every passerby stops to remark on them. A phantasmagoria inspired by the travels of HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan – the ships that provided the shop’s timber beams – they make ghostly jewel boxes of colour, filled with strange objects and papered with dragons, pagodas, palm trees and parrots. The lurex dresses and red velvet tuxedos are pinned and hung and bound with ship’s rope. Sounds of a coming storm issue from little speakers and a strange breeze blows within. Everything gold catches the light. Ah, the marketplace! Christmas is coming.'
'My firm favourite is Architecture Social Club’s design for Liberty. Here, cheap tat meets obsessive boffinry, baroque-inspired floral ornamentation and deconstructivist neo-Victorian revival. Brilliant. At times when the mundane London vernacular is threatening to colonise every last niche of the capital’s skyline, what architect still dares to indulge in such opulence? More, please!
It is the crass incongruity of the references, the friction between the different aesthetics, that connects with the viewer’s subconscious and bring the narrative to life.
A completed project always bears evidence of the working relationship between the design team members. At Liberty, there was obviously a meeting of minds. A fly on the wall must have revelled in the entertainment as the Social Clubbers and Liberty’s staff concocted their phantasmagorical vision. The designers’ proclamation ‘Good design comes from great collaborations’ certainly holds true in this commission.'
RIBAJ Jan Kattein
Lead Designers: Satyajit Das, James Wignall and Alex Wright
Engineer: David Gardner
Writer: Eley Williams
Designers: Mitesh Chauhan, James Rodgers, John 'Birdman' O'Sullivan
Music: Max Cooper
Graphic designer: The Bond and Coyne team
Installation Construction: Niel Cambell, Jennifer Tividad, Maria Von Kohler, CJ, Regan Appleton, Ciara Halpin, Elise Alden, Lawrence Deane, Edward Blandford, Joe Wyand, John Harkness, How Ling, Isobel Black, Will Harding Newman, Lauren Roberts, Bradley Moore, Rob Whalley, Sophia Wimpenny, Dan Michaelson, Shehnaaz Khan, Steve Britton.
The installation emphasises Liberty’s pivotal influence upon the fashion world. It will do so in a way that complements the store’s design, the eclecticism of its collections and Liberty’s individual identity among London’s high-street shops.
The display will focus on the figure of Arthur Lasenby Liberty and will cast him in the role of fashion’s liberator. He will be portrayed as encountering a dissolute, fantastical and depraved couture-landscape that represents London’s pre-Liberty’s world; as the narrative continues, ‘Arthur’ is shown to herald a new promise of better, higher quality fashion for the city. In terms of the installation’s narrative this will involve light, surreal play with the iconography of a ‘Noah’s ark’; on the surface, this will be a skit on the figure of founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty as the one person able to take charge and personally effect change. The imagery of sea-faring will also be sympathetic with the naval history of the famous shop front’s physical structure on Great Marlborough Street — the Grade II* Tudor-revival building was constructed in 1924 using the timbers of two ships: the HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.
THERE ONCE WAS A CITY, VICE-RIDDEN AND SQUALID,
WHERE FASHION WAS WILD, EXTRAVAGANT AND TORRID
IT'S DESIGNS WERE ALL SEDUCTIVE, IT'S FABRICS HUNG ASKEW
A COMPLETELY OUTRAGEOUS, FLAMBOYANT HULLABALOO.
BY THIS POINT COUTURE HAD QUITE GONE TOO FAR
BUT! ONE MAN LEAPT FORWARD TO PUT RIGHT THIS BIZARRE!
THE SINGLE GREAT HOPE FOR THIS TOWN ALL-AT-SEA:
THE DAPPER, REDOUBTABLE ARTHUR L. LIBERTY.
“Arthur was Good”, and Arthur knew best;
‘London SHALL emerge as a place better dressed!’
He worked day and night ‘til this brave drapers’ guru
Built an ark and set sail (contents arranged two-by-two-oh).
Great floods soon descended and submerged London’s streets,
Washed away all the tawdry naff hemlines and pleats!
The waters kept rising and over waves huge and frightening
Brave Arthur sailed on, beneath thunder and lightning!
After months on the water Arthur reached a decision,
Launched a pigeon to the skies (with astounding precision)
And! To his joy! Sign of land! ‘What a selection!’
The bird came back clutching GUCCI’s A/W 2016 collection.
So Arthur returned with a triumphant splash
With bespoke, chic stylings and characteristic panache;
The whole of London toasts him, and throughout the lands
We all can rest easy — fashion’s now in safe hands.
The project approach begins at the narrative. This allowed us to create a opening into the visual language which was depicted in a series of drawings. At this point the wider team was pulled in, which included more architects, engineers, graphic designers, writers, musicians, marketing and app makers, rapid prototype specialist who started to help shape the project through experimentation from ground up.
Our rather wonderful Liberty clients with Architecture Social Club’s multitude of skill sets have allowed the project to grow beyond the windows. A concept that lives on in time for there brand. Physically, there will be bespoke composition of sounds to enhance the project, apps you take away home in your pockets, as well as personalisable objects from the show you can buy. The installation physically extend into the shop with sound and 2 by 2 arrangements of items.
Liberty Arc is a project we hope that grows beyond our scope and time at the windows!