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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

The East India Company Store in Edinburgh, Scotland by Kinnersley Kent Design

 
July 13th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Caroline Collett PR Ltd

The East India Company, the contemporary revitalisation of one of history’s most powerful and successful trading ventures, has opened a flagship store on Edinburgh’s George Street, the Scottish capital’s most prestigious shopping address, with all design work by leading British studio Kinnersley Kent Design.

The new East India Company store, its first ever in Scotland, will offer the brand’s premium luxury fine foods range, as per its eleven existing stores across Greater London, Kent and the Middle East (plus concessions in Harrods and Heathrow T4/T5), as well as its new East India Company ‘Home’ range, representing a first foray into the lifestyle market and also now available in the brand’s London flagship store in the heart of Mayfair, recently refurbished by Kinnersley Kent Design.

The East India Company Scottish flagship store, Edinburgh, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The East India Company Scottish flagship store, Edinburgh, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

  • Architects: Kinnersley Kent Design
  • Project: The East India Company Store
  • Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • Photography: Kate Berry
  • Retail design: Kinnersley Kent Design
  • Team:

    • Mick Kent (Partner)
    • Mark Leib (Director) Emily Watson (Designer) – Interiors
    • Kenny Sum (Director), Dimple Umeria-Alam (Senior Designer),
    • Chris Jones (Senior Designer) – Branding, Graphics, Packaging

 The store, on Edinburgh's George Street, is on the ground floor of a six-storey building, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The store, on Edinburgh’s George Street, is on the ground floor of a six-storey building, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The new Scottish store also features several unique new elements, including decorative and narrative elements which refer to the company’s historic activities in Scotland, as well as the launch of an integrated F&B offer within an East India Company store – for the first time ever.

The store interior, with a view back to the street, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The store interior, with a view back to the street, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The front of the store is home to the company's fine foods offer, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The front of the store is home to the company’s fine foods offer, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The Edinburgh store forms just part of the ongoing projects being developed by The East India Company, together with the Kinnersley Kent Design team, ranging from branding, graphics and packaging work (including the packaging for the new chocolate range in 2015, for example) to exciting new future concepts, to be unveiled at a later stage.

Queen's Table display detail, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Queen’s Table display detail, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

One of the three new hospitality area 'niches' within the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

One of the three new hospitality area ‘niches’ within the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

‘Our approach here has been to develop and mature The East India Company retail offer’, explained Mick Kent, Partner at Kinnersley Kent Design, ‘introducing a lighter materials palette and a more ‘joyful’, fresher and celebratory feel for the store interiors. We are working closely on this with the modern-day East India Company Chairman, Sanjiv Mehta – a passionate advocate for the transformative and expressive power of design.’

Tall wooden display units feature antiqued mirrored paneling to create extra light, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Tall wooden display units feature antiqued mirrored paneling to create extra light, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Tea display, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Tea display, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Building, Storefront and Signage:           

The new store, typical of its historic location and building envelope, has a long, slim footprint, necessitating a lot of thought on how to plan the space to work at its best and to draw customers’ eyes through to the back of the store.

Two of the F&B seating niches are located along the right-hand perimeter wall, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Two of the F&B seating niches are located along the right-hand perimeter wall, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The tea-to-go counter with Corian front and Carrara marble top, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The tea-to-go counter with Corian front and Carrara marble top, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The six-storey building was designed in the first decade of the 20th century by J J Burnet in polished cream sandstone with granite bands and has served at various points as an office block and a department store. Immediately prior to its takeover by The East India Company, it played host to an optician’s business. The new, 1,180 sq ft scheme (within an overall ground floor floorplate of 1,600 sq ft) features almost half as much retail floor space again as the previous occupant.

Tea-to-go counter detail, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Tea-to-go counter detail, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Series of interlocking 'tea-tasting' tables, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Series of interlocking ‘tea-tasting’ tables, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The storefront itself is made up of dark-stained timber and bronze-coloured, powder-coated metal, with a black overlay housing the polished brass storefront lettering, with an additional illuminated ‘bus stop’ sign to the left-hand side of the façade. At the top of the storefront is a striking red panel, with The East India Company marque at its centre. In line with building regulations, a lot of the existing storefront structure was retained in terms of the bulkhead, whilst Georgian-proportioned panelling, a strong identifying element for the brand, was introduced along the base of the windows and doors. Two small window-beds built into the framework feature a patterned window vinyl, taken from the family of patterns that make up The East India Company brand collateral, which are used and integrated throughout the store interiors, as well as on the company website and other graphic applications.

Cash desk towards the rear of the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Cash desk towards the rear of the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The company's coat of arms, set into a red lightbox, draws the eye through the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

The company’s coat of arms, set into a red lightbox, draws the eye through the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Just inside the store, to each side of the window, sit two large-scale lightboxes, clearly visible from the exterior, which add light and interest, displaying the gold outlines of historic company ships against a red textile background, with cartographic rhumb lines charting the ships’ onetime navigational paths. The company’s coat of arms, in gold, features at the rear of the store and is set into a striking red illuminated lightbox just beyond the cash desk, visible from the entrance and drawing the eye through. A simple timeline graphic to its right, by the cash desk, displays key moments from The East India Company’s Scottish heritage story and is set within a thin brass frame.

Behind the cash desk, a timeline graphic tells the company's Scottish heritage story, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Behind the cash desk, a timeline graphic tells the company’s Scottish heritage story, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Coins set into surface of cash desk, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Coins set into surface of cash desk, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

About the East India Company:

The East India Company made a wide range of rare and exotic ingredients familiar and available to the world; ingredients which today form part of our daily and national cuisines. Today we continue to develop and market unique and innovative products that take inspiration from the pioneering spirit of The Company. We trade foods crafted by artisans, with carefully sourced ingredients, unique recipes and distinguished provenances.

About Kinnersley Kent Design:                 

Kinnersley Kent Design is one of British design’s most prestigious consultancies, founded 25 years ago by partners Glenn Kinnersley and Mick Kent, who run the business with partners Jill Higgins and Paul McElroy. The company has studios in London and Dubai and a multi-award-winning portfolio that spans distinctive, branded interiors in retail, leisure and hospitality for leading global brands. Clients include Fortnum & Mason, Albert Roux, The East India Company, Mint Velvet, Jaeger, The Athenaeum Hotel, Marks & Spencer, Fenn Wright Manson, House of Fraser and Historic Royal Palaces.

Tea caddy display below coat of arms lightbox, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

Tea caddy display below coat of arms lightbox, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

New premium 'Home' offer at the rear of the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

New premium ‘Home’ offer at the rear of the store, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

'Home' offer merchandising table with brass-framed display cabinets behind, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

‘Home’ offer merchandising table with brass-framed display cabinets behind, Image Courtesy © Kate Berry

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