Dezeen Magazine

Alexander Wang opens first European flagship store in London

American fashion designer Alexander Wang has worked with Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen to create a greyscale interior for his latest store, inside a former post office in London's Mayfair (+ slideshow).

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

The 625-square-metre store, which opened earlier this month, offers all of Wang's clothing, accessories and homeware collections across three levels.

Located on Albemarle Street, just down the road from Paul Smith's cast-iron-fronted store, the flagship was designed by Wang and Van Duysen to echo the designer's dark, minimal aesthetic.

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

"The essence of the London store reflects a coherent synergy between Alex and myself and creates a space that makes reference to both modern and classic archetypes," said Van Duysen, who has also designed a store for skincare brand Aesop in Hamburg.

Keeping to a restricted palette, the duo mixed a range of textures and materials – combining rough industrial elements with smooth details.

The structural elements of the historic original building were retained and highlighted using new surface treatments. Columns arranged in a grid are wrapped with silver travertine stone, while beams and wall niches are coated in matt black recycled rubber.

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

"I've always loved London and I am so proud and excited to open my first European flagship store here," said Wang, who recently left his position as the creative director of French fashion house Balenciaga to concentrate on his own brand. "The multi-level space and the historical structure of the building gave us the opportunity to evolve our retail concept, and to adapt it specifically to this location."

A sculptural staircase encased in black rubber rises through the building to connect all three levels, with steps made from dark grey concrete and a handrail in embossed stingray leather.

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

In the basement, men's ready-to-wear, T by Alexander Wang and men's accessories, as well as women's Denim x Alexander Wang, are all displayed in the space with dark concrete flooring.

Accessories including women's handbags, footwear and small leather goods are housed on the ground level, which features a charcoal terrazzo and concrete floor.

Display fixtures and horizontal surfaces are covered in grey suede, while the walls and ceiling are finished in a light grey Venetian plaster.

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

Women's ready-to-wear and T by Alexander Wang collections are housed on the upper level, where a wool carpet is set into the concrete floor.

On this floor and the bottom level, chromed metal tubes hang from the ceiling to form lighting fixtures and clothes rails. Horizontal metal louvres form partitions.

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

A black rubber-effect metal coating is used across all the cabinetry, creating curved edges around freestanding tiered display stands.

Van Duysen said: "The rich heritage of the building and the Mayfair area juxtaposed with Alex's fascination with less traditional materials – such as rubber, distressed chrome, embossed leathers – and the 'unexpected', create something very special that speaks strongly to our combined aesthetic – geometric proportions with a refined contemporary edge."

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

The main fitting rooms are completely lined with ivory-coloured suede and incorporate custom-designed tubular chrome mirror and lighting fixtures.

Furnishings throughout are customised from Wang's range for Poltrona Frau, while Van Duysen Architects has also created bespoke pieces for the store.

A re-edition of a 1970s sofa by Italian designer Gianfranco Frattini for Tacchini also features, along with sculptures by artists Ben Storms and Gerard Kuijpers.

Alexander Wang store by Vincent van Duysen

The shop's symmetrical facade features giant glass panes framed by patterned metalwork, flanked by the original carved stone doorways.

This outpost is the 25th Alexander Wang store worldwide and his debut standalone store in Europe. The designer's first flagship opened in New York's Soho district in 2011, six years after he set up his eponymous label.

International fashion brands are continuing to build their presence in London, with Issey Miyake, Saint Laurent and Bally all opening new stores in the UK capital over the past year and a half.