That moment when you are designing a retail concept for the White Tower, the oldest building part of the famous Tower of London, and you realize you are not allowed to touch any wall or ceiling…
London-based consultancy firm, Kinnersley Kent Design (KKD), created a super intelligent retail concept for the gift shop of the White Tower of the number one paid-for heritage attraction in London. As you may already know, the tower of London is nothing short of a British landmark architecturally and historically, with visitor numbers averaging 7,000 per day.
The brief addressed to KKD was obviously quite extensive, aiming at having all the requirements of the projects clear: to create an exciting and engaging retail experience, to improve the tourists circulation, to enhance the natural character of the building and to creatively facilitate product merchandising.
Furthermore, these requirements were meant to be met while keeping in mind a very important challenge: it was not allowed to touch the building fabric of this ancient monument in any way!
What was the architectural response of the renowned design firm?
Inspired by the aesthetics and character of the White Tower itself, the new concept found its essence in the high vaulted ceilings and the raw material palette of the historic building.
All the merchandising units and new lighting fixtures were designed as freestanding elements, not jeopardizing the existing structure at any point: modular display units made of black steel structures with oak wood units and brass detailing were created, featuring a stainless steel mesh at the back; thus revealing and celebrating the original stone wall behind.
The retail concept is vigorously complemented by the lighting system. On one hand, the merchandising units are backlit, creating a glow around the products and highlighting even more the texture of the stone wall. On another hand, the overall space is lit by three huge pendant lights over the central walkway, that are also attached to the units and rising up in three arches. This movement of arches replicates the vaulted ceiling of the tower and contributes to emphasize even more its soul.
I think Kinnersley Kent Design succeeded in creating a merchandising concept that works to naturally intensify the beauty and heritage of the Tower of London. The space of the gift shop looks dramatically gorgeous while still being authentic and true to the historic location.