The Jil Sander London Flagship, located in the former Royal Bank of Scotland at the corner of Savile Row and Burlington Gardens, opened in March 2002. The prominent landmark building has undergone a series of changing identities since it was built in 1721 as a residence for the Earl of Darnley. This grand historic site was a natural fit for the world of Jil Sander as a space for contemporary retail development. In recent years its grand double-height sky-lit banking hall has been a popular site for London Fashion extravaganzas. Its beautiful decorative detailing has now been meticulously restored and complimented with a signature minimalist intervention characteristic of the Jil Sander design sensibility.
While the design is clearly an evolution of the original Jil Sander concept, for which Gabellini Associates has been involved with the design house since the inception of the first boutique that opened on Avenue Montaigne in Paris in 1993, it exhibits the same elegant nickel silver, Macassar ebony fixtures, and honed limestone flooring. The concept has been adapted to suit this unique environment by its innovative use of light and detailing that are developed specifically for this location. The former banking hall features three floating walls that divide the space into various product groups while subtly curving around existing Corinthian columns. The ornate coffered ceiling and walls have been meticulously restored in collaboration with English Heritage and the City of Westminster. The lighting concept has been developed to illuminate and enhance the balance between old and new. The new collection walls blend metal halide uplights to create a modulated filtering of natural and artificial sources to simulate a nuanced daylight exposure. Metal halide spotlights in slender slot fixtures are recessed into the ceiling beams while the circular domed skylights within the coffers emit an ambient glow.
The staircase to the showroom and VIP rooms on the second level features a dramatic domed coffered ceiling that has been highlighted with several light sources. Hidden light coves at the base of the dome provide a soft upward wash of light towards the light emanating from the skylight above, while a custom tubular fixture, extending ten meters down from the skylight to the ground level atrium, provides a shaft of light suspended within the atrium stair.