A 100,000-square-foot shopping center in London's Kings Cross set within a Victorian-era coal yard officially opened to the public last weekend. Designed by Heatherwick Studio, Coal Drops Yard completely transforms the former industrial site into the city’s latest shopping district, dropping dramatic, contemporary architecture within the historic brick buildings. Built in the 1850s, the railway tracks were once used to sort and unload millions of tons of coal as they arrived by train. As urban coal consumption declined, the huge cast-iron and brick structures were left neglected. The district’s cobblestone courtyards, ornate ironwork, and rugged brick viaducts survived despite the lack of use, and were revitalized over a two-year period of construction to link a new network of over 50 stores, restaurants, and cafes. Once considered the underbelly of King’s Cross, the formerly depressed area was long-known for its derelict warehouses, eerie remoteness, and later, for its mob of rowdy night-clubbers. Heatherwick Studio's restoration revived the area's distinctive character, turning it into one of Central London’s busiest and trendiest boroughs. Coal Drops Yard is centered around two cast-iron and brick structures that define the space, both fluid and highly technical. They include dramatic curvilinear roofs that rise upward and stretch out toward each other, creating a large covered outdoor space and a hub for the entire shopping district. Within the historic coal drops where incoming trains once unloaded their cargo, the individual retail and food spaces are built out to uniquely take advantage of the site's low-rise structures, Victorian arches, canal-side views, and gritty charm. Heatherwick Studio has already made a substantial impact on both Central London and Manhattan. Their upcoming projects include a 16-story landmark sculpture in Chelsea’s Hudson Yards, and an innovative park and performance space, Pier 55, along the Hudson River.
Posts tagged with "shopping":
Imagine a world where artificial intelligence tracks your every movement. A world where buildings have minds of their own, learning your behaviors, and collecting data from you as you come and go. While existing technology has not yet reached sci-fi levels, a visit to an Amazon Go grocery store can offer you a peek into this possible future of retail design. This week Amazon announced its plans to open a new store in New York, the first of its kind on the East Coast, before opening nearly 3,000 more nationwide by 2021. The company has already built out six Amazon Go stores in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco. The cutting-edge stores, as shown within its first locations, are characterized by visual simplicity, clarity, and hyper-functionality. Through the stores' structural elements, including minimalistic facades, geometric configurations, and exposed raw materials, such as wood veneer and polished concrete, the interiors assume an industrial feel. They feature muted colors and black merchandise racks that give the stores a clean appearance as well. Meanwhile, ceiling cameras monitor shoppers as they wander through the aisles. The stores are unique in that they are void of cashiers, cash registers, and self-service checkout stands. Customers only need to walk in, take what they need, and leave. As they swing through the turnstiles on their way out, Amazon automatically bills their credit cards. Within minutes, a receipt is sent to the Amazon app, giving customers a summary of what they bought, what they paid, and the exact amount of time they spent in the store. The stores, which depend on highly sophisticated image recognition software and artificial intelligence to function, are expected to drastically transform the retail experience in unexpected ways. Amazon began working on retail stores five years ago with the goal of eliminating consumer criticisms and complaints, such as struggling to find products and waiting in long lines. Since the first Amazon Go store opened last January in Seattle, it has received tremendous praise and success. According to CNN, highly automated retail stores like Amazon Go are expected to become the norm within as little as 10 to 15 years. Research has shown that up to 7.5 million retail jobs are at risk of automation in the next decade, which will save retailers money on labor, as well as boost profits, but obviously cost retail workers their livelihood. Automated stores can facilitate the ordering and restocking process as cameras and AI track inventory in real-time. The removal of cash registers provides more space for inventory. Customer data can also be uploaded to the servers of each building, where retailers can present them with personalized discounts, offers, and other incentives. While Amazon has confirmed plans to open an Amazon Go store in New York, its location has yet to be determined.
As part of Earth Day New York’s annual festival, taking place today and tomorrow at Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn-based eco-friendly buildings products supplier Green Depot is debuting their new Pop-Up store, which promotes the company’s Do-It-Yourself motto while providing sustainable building materials, products, and accessories to an commuter consumer-base on the go. Designed Colin Brice and Caleb Mulvena of New-York based firm Mapos, who are also the designers of Green Depot’s new flagship store on the Bowery in Manhattan, the Pop-Up store is a flexible and mobile space that facilities Green Depot’s design principle of easy, affordable, and gratifying green living and building. Drawing from the store’s original concepts, the Pop-Up store also features a series of visible “building slices,” which reveal the materials and supplies used in green building design, and interactive educational booths that allow green design to be accessible to all. The 1,000-square-foot store is made out of traditional scaffolding elements that are easy-to-assemble and can be arranged in multiple formations. After its run in New York, the installation will be packaged and shipped to Green Depot’s new Chicago showroom where the signage materials and floor fixtures will be reused, keeping with the company's philosophy.
Whether you are buying gifts this weekend or merely window-shopping, New Yorkers willing to brave the crowds on upper Madison Avenue can also see cutting edge architecture, albeit in miniature form. REX has designed a doll house for the Calvin Klein Collection, on view now through January 5, 2009 at their store on Madison at 60th Street. But this doll house isn’t child’s play. The structure, which looks like a large origami birdhouse suspended from diagonal braces, was built with the help of Magnusson Klemencic engineers and the fabricators at Situ Studio. While this rendering makes the piece look like it’s suspended between buildings on one of New York’s canyon-like streets, it is, in reality, hung in the window. Go see it for yourself. UPDATE: Here are some photographs of the doll house, for comparison with the rendering. It's pretty impressive. The interiors feature tiny versions of Calvin Klein's apparel, furniture, and home accessories lines.