New Work: MHL London
Pentagram’s William Russell has designed Margaret Howell’s first stand alone MHL store in the UK, a converted warehouse in London’s east end.
The Old Nichol Street store is part of a ten year relationship between Russell and Margaret Howell in which Russell has designed the MHL concept store in Tokyo and Margaret Howell flagship stores in the Jinnan-Shinbuya District in Tokyo, Place de la Madeleine in Paris and Wigmore Street and Fulham Road in London.
The first tenants of the warehouse space were Studio Small, who took the property and needed to fill the space they didn’t use. Since the studio work with Howell, they asked her if she would like to use the space above them for a store. Howell took the opportunity and approached Russell to design the space.
The warehouse supplied an ideal setting for Russell’s vision for the space, which was to align the look and feel of the store with Margaret Howell’s vision her MHL diffusion line which is a reinterpretation of workware.
Russell’s design worked with a limited palette of materials to give the store a workshop-like setting.
All of the furniture is made from fair-faced birch plywood and the flooring is made from cork. The top of the cash desk and the shelves are covered with grey linoleum.
Products are displayed on brushed stainless steel notched hanging rails which have integrated lighting. All of the store’s stock is kept on open steel shelving behind the cash desk. The fitting rooms are tucked behind the stairs that lead to the apartments above, allowing an open unified shop floor.
To maximize daylight, the shop front has a large glazed window and to the rear of the store is a skylight that washes the natural light down a plain white wall bringing light deep into the space.
The store is now open and is located at19 Old Nichol Street, E2.
Project team: William Russell, Partner-in-charge, Sarah Adams, Associate partner and Tiziana Falchi, project architect.