Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge
A beauty playground has opened in the heart of Knightsbridge as Harvey Nichols continues a redesign of its Knightsbridge store. Unveiled in July 2016, the Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge offers time-pressed Londoners long opening hours and a range of luxury services.
Housed in the firm’s new 13,000 square foot site, work on the design of the Beauty Lounge began in June 2015 with work on site commencing in April 2016. The main contractors on the project were Portview Fit-Out Limited and Dula provided the fixtures.
Simon Campbell from Portview commented: “We have been working with Harvey Nichols quite extensively over the last few years. Our first project was Beauty Bazaar in Liverpool, followed by a project in Leeds and then the full fit-out of the new concept store in the Mailbox in Birmingham. Success there lead to the menswear department in LG1 and LG2 in Knightsbridge, and most recently the Beauty Lounge which is the first of three phases to come over the next few months on the ground floor.
”There was extensive structural work beginning with the menswear department that lead through to this project, so it was a challenge working in a live trading store as we had to minimise disruption and protect the customer experience at the same time. We had a successful and collaborative team working on the project with the client and Cummings and Virgile and Partners, and the reception in the marketplace has been hugely positive.
“It is an iconic store and I think to be working in partnership with Harvey Nichols is a privilege and something we greatly appreciate. We have thoroughly enjoyed the experience – it has been a huge challenge dealing with what an old building can throw up and the structural work involved has been quite exceptional, the time scales have been pressurised and it is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the whole team to have successfully delivered such a high quality design to the tight time scales and clients satisfaction.”
The main architects on the project were Virgile + Partners, with the project lead by Carlos Virgile and Ewald Damen.
Speaking to Premier Retail magazine, Carlos Virgile said: “Beauty in particular is all about service, a major consideration of Harvey Nichols generally, and this was a great opportunity to express it in the context of the Beauty Lounge. A wider, more open and fluid space which let natural light into the area and a place where practical pampering – from quick services to sophisticated beauty treatments – as well as a program of events can really add to the overall retail experience of the Ground Floor of the store and complement the beauty brands offer.
“We’ve tried to better contain the ‘visual noise’ found in many beauty halls, allowing the brands to strongly present their identity but within carefully considered guidelines – i.e. no brand canopies, no tacky point of sale material – and a clear HN umbrella framework. Moving digital imagery has been given priority as a communication tool giving the department a contemporary state of the art edge.”
The Beauty Lounge will be open weekdays between 8am and 10pm and offers a range of new products including LED facials, massages, a blowdry bar and even vitamin injections.
Carlos added: “The fluidity of the space and the materiality were key issues to consider. Our approach to materiality is fundamental within the Harvey Nichols scheme.
“It is an eclectic approach that mixes different materials – some clearly associated with luxury such as marbles and bronze- but others that play contrast to these with a more architectural as well as fun approach. Different tones of concrete are then mixed with light grey and white marbles, new materials such as resin or printed plywood panelling, and even a fake marble effect wall covering creates an unusual and strong contrasting effect.
“The colour palette was also important. We wanted to move away from the traditional black or white schemes used by many beauty brands and their identity. The overall shell of the Beauty Lounge and the central hall has a soft ‘skin’ tone that complements the organic shapes of the ceiling and the integration of moulded, almost sculptured lighting troughs.
Also, sheets of semi-translucent polycarbonate play a part in contrast with the plastered ceiling, adding a glossy reflective effect and a touch of necessary glamour to the offer.”
Commenting about working on the project, Carlos concluded: “Our partnership with Harvey Nichols as a client has gone from strength to strength and has become an effective and very enjoyable collaboration that relies on real trust and confidence in each others abilities to deliver the creativity and energy the brand represents today.
“The Knightsbridge flagship and the Ground Floor are the portals to the Harvey Nichols brand, therefore the Beauty Lounge and Hall, as well as the next stage of the project, are a tremendous opportunity to promote and communicate these key values and bring new life to the store. It is a great responsibility for all of us involved.”