A stitch in time

Shed has designed a flagship store for London tailors Spencer Hart, part owned by singer Robbie Williams

Matt Smith (ex Wolf Olins, Fitch & Imagination) and Nick Stringer (ex Prada) met at university and founded Shed in London, in 2000.

A former client of theirs introduced them to Nick Hart and they were subsequently invited to work on a project for him at Spencer Hart, Savile Row HQ.

After seven years of being on Savile Row, the company decided to broaden out and open a shop in Liberty’s in London and market a sub brand at a price in line with its competitors like Paul Smith and Richard James.

The result is a flagship store within a period Neo-Georgian building, a former bank situated on the corner of Mayfair’s Brook Street. Shed has worked with many of the original features including the opening up of the fenestrated windows, impressive entrance portico and has retained the high bank ceilings.

“The store is about Savile Row and Palms Springs; it began as an out-there reference but has become physical in terms of both store-design and products. Spencer Hart Palm Springs is the casual wear, the scent – every non-suiting offering which will be at the flagship,” said Hart.

The walls are constructed from geometric blocks inspired by Palm Springs’ Parker Hotel. This tesselated, iconic shape has become a 3D object; a mini sculpture and main feature born out of geometry. It is now the backbone to the whole store.

“The birth of Spencer Hart was in Savile Row and was always about taking men on a journey into a world inhabited by these incredibly cool, well educated in the meaning of life, characters,” added Hart.

“My tale was centred around the world of Blue Note records in the late 50s and the paired down crisp understated but very disciplined approach to the aesthetics of that era and the way musicians would often take quite conservative preppy or establishment uniforms and give them an edge.

“Think Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk and the way they misappropriated white middle class dress, the Brooks Brothers wasp look, or in England, the way the Teds took Edwardian Savile Row uniform and gave it a swagger. I also injected into the mix the David Bowie Thin White duke persona but then mixed in the romance of Brides Head Revisited.

“One of the single biggest influences in terms of style, attitude and sounds was Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. The idea of men behaving outrageously and having it all,” he said.

Stringer said Shed began working with Hart by improving Savile Row and making it friendlier as it had been frightening for many people to enter.

It then invited the design firm to work on its next phase, which was to open a flagship lifestyle concept store based on the idea of Palm Springs in the 40s and 50s.

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