Two years after Domus Facades completed their stone contract works for Harrods Entrance Hall 3 on Basil Street they received a call back to tender for Harrods next large project, their 1930’s Grand Entrance Number 5 on Hans Crescent. The project was shortlisted for the World Interior of the Year awards and won the Blueprint Awards for Best Interior Project (Leisure).
This would be a step up from the previous project with a more generous budget for more opulent marble. When you enter from Hans Crescent you realise you have entered something special. A clever combination of hand-crafted materials complimented by French and Italian marble, conceived by MAKE Architects.
When you enter you immoderately walk onto 650m2 of Grigio Genova marble paving. Flanked either side of you is 945m2 of Grigio Genova shear walls, uninterrupted running 25 metres from the lower ground floor level to the sixth-floor level.
As you leave the entrance hall you pass through Noir St Laurent marble portals on every level (240m2).
Many hours and flights were dedicated to the selection of stone material. To achieve the finish a dry laying process was agreed to understand the characteristics of Grigio Genova and Noir St Laurent to draw out the best of the material. Every portal (21) on the project had a dry lay. This enabled the design team to control the direction of the veining, create subtle book matching and dictate the final impression.
Due to the program and volume of Grigio Genova (1,595m2) a control range was set up to provide more practical control measures. The material proved to be quite wild as you moved through the quarry and ran from bold dark tones and features to a light subtle tonality. The lighter subtle tonality and detail is what you will see on the project. The result of this selection meant a longer procurement time frame had to be worked with.
The scant selection was the first point of the quality control process. When the panels were cut to size another check was carried out against the control range. A third check was carried out on site to deal with any failures in visual checks when the panels are wet from the factory. The final selection was carried out on site on the scaffold boards! The Grigio Genova marble panels were laid out vertically in line with the shear wall and the Architect selected which panel would go were.
On the ground floor lies the White Hall Corridor. This is formed of large format panels which infill between 13 curved archways and pilasters all formed out of Grigio Genova marble. Heavy lifting equipment was used to place the panels on Domus Facades support system. Domus Facades used Stone Circle in Basingstoke to carry out the CNC work to the archways and the concierge desk. You will notice the White Hall skewers as you walk down its path. Setting out the project was one of the great challenges due to the numerous levels on every floor.
On each level the stone work interfaces with high-definition advertising screens, information boards and services often creating very tight fixing points. There are over a dozen secret access hatches across the hall built into the stone panels to enable regular maintenance.
What is behind this marble stone work is where Domus Facades expertise also come into play. Behind the stone work is a complex cavity of services to enable the hall to function. Domus Facades had to allow for an uninterrupted support system spanning up to 4 metres floor to floor. This allowed for services to work behind the stone comfortably. The bronze channels that interrupt the stone shear walls also act as air ventilation by using dummy panels.
Strip out and refit projects on grade II listed building as old as Harrods tend to through a number of surprises at you. Domus Facades design and installation team had to set themselves up on site to be able to react immediately to situations that changed. Because of the tight program they had to strip out existing works, carry out a survey and design the substrate and support system in situ.
Awards worth mentioning
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