Getting rubbed up the right way
The Wyndham Centre, a new venture in Hatton Garden, Central London, is in striking contrast to the long-established business of the street - buying and selling jewellery. An institution dedicated to 'pain relief and getting the whole body back into working order', it sits between the London Diamond Club and Gold Star ('We purchase all gold and silver articles'). The centre was designed for its empty ground-floor retail unit by designer Robin Locke of Amalgam. According to director Alison Wyndham, other Wyndham Centres in and outside London are tucked away in 'the dark recesses of buildings'. At Hatton Garden, Wyndham wanted a highly visible street presence. The shopfront had to reflect the services on offer - physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropody, reflexology etc - and stand out in an environment traditionally associated with diamond merchants, goldsmiths and jewellers.
Tamara Capellaro's suspended sculpture of two overlapping moulds of the human form in phosphor-copper bronze and stainless-steel mesh is suspended directly inside the glass facade. Behind it is a simple oak reception desk, partly screening the small waiting area; to the right, a brightly lit corridor stretches to the back of the premises giving access to the treatment rooms. Brush-stroke representations of the human form decorate the plain white corridor wall, also by Capellaro. Etched vinyl lettering on the glass facade states the function of the centre, and a glazed screen between the reception desk and waiting area carries a description of the various treatments on offer.
The human form is to the fore, nothing is concealed: Wyndham's is a world apart from the secretive, hard-edged dealing taking place in neighbouring shops.
Locke has chosen natural materials to give a high-quality, warm interior: Jarra timber floors, oak joinery, coir matting. Lack of natural lighting within the deep plan is counteracted by lowering the ceiling of the treatment rooms to make space for invisible fluorescent light fittings which reflect off the soffit, and by leaving a narrow gap between the corridor wall and suspended ceiling in which cold cathode tubing is concealed.
CLIENT Alison Wyndham
DESIGNER Amalgam: Robin Locke, Mark Simpson, Mike Abrahams, Patr ice Guerou lt
MAIN CONTRACTOR Edmont Joinery
SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS paintings and sculpture Tamara Cappellaro, joinery Edmont Joinery, graphics Rivermead Signs, furniture Rober t Webster and Viaduct, carpet Munster Carpets, pendant light fittings Erco