A Shop for Cubitts at Coal Drops Yard
This project aims to create a space for Cubitts, a modern spectacle maker and retailer, within a pair of railway arches at Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London. For their existing stores Cubitts have tried, where possible, to allow a given site’s history to act as a driving force for each shop’s individual and bespoke design. Taking this as a cue, investigations into the site history of the railway arches at Coal Drops Yard led to an understanding of the site’s original function as a storage and distribution facility for coal being delivered by train from the Midlands and North of England. This led to an exploration of black and charred materials as well as the form of the rail-based coal wagons. The result is an interior with a spatial composition based around two black rectilinear boxes that are each inserted into interventions that take the form of holes ‘mined’ out of the ground floor of each arch. Customers enter the initial box and arrive in the ground floor showroom where simple moveable furniture elements sit on industrial castors surrounded by a display of spectacles. From here an opening connects to the second arch where a mezzanine floor provides a consultation space and a staircase allows customers to view the open workshop below as they descend into the basement where consultation and staff spaces are located beneath the shop floor. Materials used to articulate the scheme include charred timber, granulated rubber, blackened metal, course grained leather and dark walnut - all carefully selected to respond to the site’s original function. Together these materials create a robust riposte to the existing building’s heavily textured shell.