For the 2018 RIBA Regent Street Windows competition, Coffey Architects has designed a dynamic window display for Italian cooking brand Smeg’s flagship London store. The installation celebrates the launch Smeg’s new Linea built-in collection.
Through a hands-on process of iterative refinement, and close collaboration with structural engineers Morph Structures, the architects explored installation options that would both market the product range and promote the Smeg brand.
Project architect Ella Wright explained, “In line with Linea’s key features, we were encouraged to work with light reflection, refraction and shadow, both naturally and artificially. What resulted is a display that is engaging, yet true to the company’s history and heritage in producing distinctive cooking appliances.”
Creating intrigue and delight through threshold and repetition, Coffey Architects has utilised the Linea collection’s cast iron pan stand to create an intricate patterned screen.The multiplication of this heavy and industrial component paradoxically creates a landscape that resembles a delicate weave, whilst showcasing Smeg’s rich heritage. It filters and diffuses light, casting beautiful, active shadows inside the store during the day and out onto the pavement at night.
Wright said: “This installation blurs the boundaries of the shop window through the use of layering, transparency, light and shadow. As much as the screen itself, we were excited by the effect it produced. Striking shadows are cast on the pavement and passers-by, appearing to brand whatever surface they touch.”
Whilst from a distance the screen reads as one piece, at closer inspection, visitors can understand the pan stands as individual components. The design showcases two of Smeg’s new products at eye level within the intricate weave, inviting passers-by to engage with the brand, as well as the shadows it casts.
Smeg London opened its doors in September 2017, and since then has welcomed a number of architects and designers to commission its products.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with RIBA on this very special window display”, said head of marketing, John Davies. “The store has been designed specifically to target the architectural market and support the brand’s growing presence in this sector, so this announcement is a very important one for us”.
This is the eighth year of the exclusive design competition run by the RIBA, the official professional body for architects in the UK. The project sees some of Regent Street’s leading retailers partnering with emerging and established RIBA Chartered Architects to create a series of unique shop windows on Regent Street and Regent Street St James’s.
Coffey Architects’ display will run for a minimum of six months.