Making history at Harrods
The first phase in the two-year transformation of London’s historic Harrods Food Halls is now open, following a project delivering a stunning new from-scratch bakery and coffee roastery, ‘Tea Tailor’, gourmet grocery and a new destination coffee bar.
The Roastery and Bakehall is the first phase of ‘The Taste Revolution’ – a two-year restoration project that will transform Harrods’ Food Halls for the future.
The redevelopment has been driven by Harrods’ Director of Food & Restaurants Alex Dower and his team of food experts, including 150 in-house chefs. Dower says, “The Roastery and Bakehall forms the first phase of ‘The Taste Revolution’ and we are eager for local ‘foodies’ to discover what the room has to offer. Nowhere else is there such a combination of skill, creativity, experience, outstanding service and variety of food offered in the beauty of a Grade II*-listed environment.”
Designed by David Collins Studio, the Roastery and Bakehall embodies a juxtaposition of the antique and modern. The room has been painstakingly returned to its 1925 shape and size, with the stunning architectural features of the Grade II*-listed building brought to life.
The ceiling, cartouches and Carrara marble flooring have been fully restored, and are complemented by new touches such as luxurious hand-embroidered leather bar stools and a bespoke black and aged brass Probat coffee roaster.
Simon Rawlings, Creative Director of David Collins Studio said: “Our design concept was geared to elevating the everyday ‘essentials’ shopping experience – including bread, coffee, tea and ‘habitual’ groceries – to create a sense of drama and theatre within the space and tell the story of the provenance of the produce by creating a multi-sensory shopping experience.”
There are four elevations within the space – with the gourmet grocery on the south, coffee roastery to the north, the bakery to the west, and seasonal produce and hampers to the east. Anchored within the middle of the room are the coffee bar and the patisserie.
The bakery counter shelving details the forms and curves within the shape of the original cartouches; embracing this original detail within the design, and working with the rhythm of the existing tiles, which have a subtle green half chequer vertical stripe that wraps around the perimeter of the space.
Simon Rawlings said: “Here dark timber and pressed glass, as well as ribbed metal panelled details, create a great showcase and a sense of theatre with large pressed glass pendants illuminating the space from above.
“The finishing touch within this area is a large clock designed as a central feature.”
On the north elevation, the focal point is the roasting room, from which emanates the evocative smell of roasting coffee beans.
The jet black roasting machine features brass detailing and is set within a glass chamber finished with pressed glass and bronze details.
Here coffee beans are roasted, aged and packaged in full view; creating a visual story of provenance. A coffee tasting counter is set alongside the roastery.
On the opposite side of the roastery to the coffee tasting counter, is the flavour house for tea, where customers can sample and mix their own blends, which can be stored for reference for next time they shop.
There is also a display of pre-packed, loose caddies and the best selection of tea from around the world. At both the coffee and tea counters are three stools, upholstered in gold and blue embossed leather.
Simon Rawlings said: “In this area, instead of standard aisles and rows, a framework of fixtures at differing heights, encourages the customer to explore the space, with items grouped together intuitively for ease.
“New shelving has been designed to work within the framework of the original architecture and cartouches, which are lit with spotlights above to make these details a focal point of the display.
Different styles of design fixtures – including large cylindrical tubes of oils and vinegars – display merchandise across the space.”
The seasonal and hamper area features dramatic floor to ceiling shelves offering an engaging display of seasonal produce and hampers, all detailed with aged brass and mirror.
The Coffee and Patisserie Bars
Anchored within the centre of the room are the patisserie and coffee bars, the latter designed to evoke a more traditional espresso bar, with stools upholstered in blue leather and finished with individual embroidered detail on the back, and bespoke lights in holophane glass and brass.
Simon Rawlings commented: “The curved shape of both the bars, reflect the curves of the cartouches in the space. The front of the coffee bar features a blue ceramic tile detail set within dark timber, and a brass and wood footrail.
“The patisserie is completed in dark timber with aged brass and a green ceramic tile in the same colour as tiling around the perimeter of the space – together with a brass and wood hand rail.”
Both counters have taller towers and signage set in the middle to flag each space, with decorative horizontal tube lights overhead.
Simon Rawlings concluded: “The greatest challenge of the project was balancing the existing finishes with the new interventions, and ensuring they worked successfully together with a sense of newness.
“The main contractors did a great job, customer feedback has been very positive, and Harrods are really pleased with the result as it’s delivered the vision they had in a new way.
“Harrods food halls have such great memories for lots of people, so it was important to get it right.”
Umdasch Shopfitting specialise in the execution of high-end retail environments. The company’s services include project management, value engineering, technical design, sampling and prototyping, as well as the manufacturing and installation of furniture and fixtures.
In 2018, Umdasch Shopfitting, together with owners Hilde and Alfred Umdasch, will celebrate 150 years in business – a fantastic achievement.
Over the course of the last 150 years, Umdasch Shopfitting has been involved in various prestigious projects, with clients including Christian Dior, Etro, De Beers, Ferrari, Victoria & Albert, Tate Modern, Dubai International Airport and Zürich International Airport, amongst others.
Most recently, Umdasch Shopfitting has been involved with the refurbishment of the Food Hall at Harrods. On this project Umdasch Shopfitting worked with several stakeholders and project partners, to install fixtures & furniture, to supply value engineering, technical design, manufacturing, sampling and prototyping services and to project manage all of their work.
Umdasch Shopfitting Managing Director, Roman Fußthaler, said:
“It was particularly important for us to be involved with this project as Harrods is an institution and a benchmark in the industry. The last time the Food Hall was refurbished at Harrods was during the 1980s, so we see this as a once in a career/lifetime project. It has been very exciting to be part of this prestigious development.”
“At Umdasch Shopfitting, we pride ourselves in handing over sophisticated and challenging retail environments to our clients on time and to their satisfaction.”