AAJ Press
Art Projects, Commissions & Projects, Interiors & Design

Mulberry – A conceptual arts and crafts store

Mulberry is an iconic British designer fashion brand that emphasises traditional craftsmanship and a commitment to craft and ecological concerns, and ties to the English landscape. The new 5,400-sq.foot Mulberry  flagship retail space in London reflects the company’s aesthetic and ethical approach and features a loft-like warehouse, which sells bags, shoes, accessories and women’s fashion. A concept that will be presented in selected international stores. The space at 50 New Bond Street in central London opened in December 2010 with design of the interiors and frontage by Universal Design Studio, the architecture / interiors arm of Barber Osgerby. The initial window display featured Rachel Thomas’ large balloon sculptures of  The Bayswater – a signature bag for the store.

“We are immensely proud of our British heritage and our reputation for craftsmanship; we wanted to facilitate the translation of these quintessential elements of our brand into our retail interiors. We have sought out the best of British craft for each material and function and let the quality and authenticity speak for itself – beautiful, totally Mulberry, authentic, responsible, flexible and innovative. Our Bond Street flagship is designed to last and to develop a patina over time, like nearly all of the best things in life it will get better and better with use!’” Georgia Fendley, Brand Director, Mulberry.

The new interior concept is very sustainable arts and crafts based with the austere language of a contemporary art gallery with daylight-simulating lightboxes on the ceiling. A dry stone wall by James Randolph Rogers is also an innovative element in the heating system. A concrete floor is inset with brass discs by conceptual artist Jonathan Ellery inspired by lyrics from the David Bowie song Maid of Bond Street. A playful composition of large sculptural timber and brass ‘follies’ consist of room-sized oak lattice or textured brass structures that offer a more intimate shopping environment within the open-plan retail floor.

Universal Design’s conceptual starting point was the English landscape: “the aim was to create an informal, meandering space punctuated by areas of high interest and intensity. References to the English landscape are subtle and abstracted: much of the pattern making visible in the architecture was derived from the structural formations of 16th century English country houses.”

The foundation for Ellery’s conceptual approach is the commonplace concerns of life,  memories, childhood, family, relationships with women, which on first glance appear disguised in a seemingly surreal, minimalist aesthetic. The constant concept of his work – the notion of sequence and of a gentle, unfolding narrative is at the core of his art –  is expressed through diverse materials from traditional Portland stone and machined brass to digital technology and sound.





Jonathan Ellery. Worldly Cares and Love Affairs, Solid Brass, 25 pieces, 50mm diameter all embedded into a concrete floor.

Models and Interior. Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street, 2010.

Rachel Thomas. The Bayswater.

About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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