Dezeen Magazine

David Adjaye uses crinkled concrete panels for Valextra concession at Harrods

Niches cut into zig-zagging concrete surfaces display leather accessories "like artefacts" at Valextra's David Adjaye-designed space in London department store Harrods (+ slideshow).

The British architect used glass-reinforced concrete to create the crinkled wall panels around the concession.

Valextra concession at Harrods by David Adjaye

Cut-outs in the vertical pleats house individual products by Milanese brand Valextra, which specialises in luxury leather goods such as handbags and wallets.

"The freestanding bespoke pockets and cut-outs for the wallets and bags – frame and celebrate the products – almost like precious artefacts," said Adjaye.

Valextra concession at Harrods by David Adjaye

The panels cover three walls that surround a central monolith, which is made from the same material and displays trays of smaller items across its stepped top.

The area sits beside a major circulation route through Harrods, so Adjaye aimed to create a design that encouraged shoppers to slow down and browse.

Valextra concession at Harrods by David Adjaye

"The effect is immediately arresting and immersive – it contrasts with much of the surrounding materiality of Harrods and presents a dramatic contemporary moment," said the architect, whose other retail projects include a luxury shopping centre in Beirut and a fashion outlet in east London.

At the Valextra concession, the textured wall panels create a heavy appearance but measure only one inch (2.5 centimetres) thick.

Valextra concession at Harrods by David Adjaye

"While the crinkle cut concrete is a powerful statement, it is also refined and delicate," Adjaye said.

Lighting is used to illuminate the niches, and highlight the brand's logos positioned close to the ceiling at the top left corner of each wall.

Valextra concession at Harrods by David Adjaye

Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, Adjaye set up his eponymous London studio in 2000. He is best known for buildings including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, as well as designing homes for a variety of celebrities.

Adjaye's major current projects include the Smithsonian Museum of African American History, which is nearing completion in Washington DC.

Valextra concession at Harrods by David Adjaye

He is among a sample of high-profile the architects and designers that recently signed a letter backing the Remain campaign for the UK's EU referendum in June 2016.

Photography is by Ed Reeve.