Located on Albemarle Street in Mayfair, this beautifully crafted shop front for Paul Smith resonates a similar traditional-material presence that has thankfully been adopted throughout much of historic London. The complex challenge posed was to create a seamless cladding design in keeping with the 18th Century Grade 1 status, with a finish that produces a natural patina, without producing heavy rust such as Corten steel.
The project requested a weathered/aged finish, given untreated iron rusts over time, the artificially aged, Cast Ductile Iron was selected to satisfy the desired architectural appearance and strength. To achieve this AATi had to develop an accelerated and repeatable process that would lead to a consistent aged appearance.
FSE Foundry – the in-house Group casting facility to AATi - worked closely with Architects 6A to develop the unique and bespoke, cast façade. Overall, 26 different types of patterns were produced to complete the design with railings, balustrades, wall panels and window reveals.
AATi are an accomplished manufacturer of cast metal facades for high end architectural projects. These panels were cast in accordance with the project specification, in this case a means of secure mounting was designed onto the back of the panels. AATi worked with the nominated metalwork fabricator to develop a hanging system that would meet the requirement loading stresses and safety factor.
Sir Paul visited the factory during the moulding and casting process, overseeing his typical artistic embellishments being carved into the sand moulds. These were an additional feature which now are discretely embossed onto some of the façade panels themselves and add to the individuality and bespoke nature of the project.
6a architects aspired for a striking shopfront that also pays tribute to London’s “background”. The so-called ‘living-finish’ will evolve overtime, whether that is the gently bowed iron threshold that will polish under-foot over time, or the bold patterned façade that will shift in tones and colours as the building will continue to age. The cast iron panels curve into the recessed oak entrance door, a gently bowed iron step evokes worn-away treads. Over time, the iron threshold will polish underfoot, recording the life of the building in its material.
Video - Paul Smith | No. 9 Albemarle Street