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Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' Foyles store opens

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Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ new flagship bookstore for Foyles has opened in London’s Charing Cross Road

The shop contains 3,440m² of retail space spread across eight shop floors. It also includes a café, gallery, and event space.

The building was originally home to Central St Martins College of Art and Design before the it moved to the Stanton Williams-designed building at Kings Cross.

The central lightwell has been enlarged to bring daylight into the centre of the shop, while the ground, first and second floors have been extended to the rear.

Above the bookshop, on the top three storeys are apartments accessed through a seperate entrance to the north of the store.

The architect’s view

 Alex Lifschutz, director of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

‘It’s an apparently short move in distance but a huge leap forward in quality of environment. The old Foyles buildings were, to some, charming and serendipitous and to most others, a rabbit warren of small, confusing spaces.

‘One went into the shop hopeful of finding a book immediately to be confronted by a labyrinth.

‘The old Central St Martins building was wild and wacky and superficially as labyrinthine as the bookshop two doors down the road… Superficially only, as under the layers of partitions installed by the art school was a highly rational structure of open floors separated by a small light well. Extraordinarily, floors on the street side were set half a level up (or down) from floors on the land side. In this context our design has merely had to clarify and simplify the existing building, to let light into it and to allow it to be filled with wonderful books, to make them the real draw.’

LDS Foyles

Project data

Location 107 Charing Cross Road, London                      
Type of project retail
Client W&G Foyle
Architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Structural engineer Waterman
Completion date June 2014

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Alex Seymour

    I just hope that there is a sufficiently bright future in the book trade to justify this expansion. My fear is that this is about 30 years too late.

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  • The photos portray a new Foyles that looks far too organised and spacious from the one I remember, visited and loved! I'll still browse and shop there though...

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