Design: Christopher Jenner
Opening date: November 2017
Store size: 120 sq m
Founded in 1799, heritage perfumers Atkinsons has returned to its roots in Mayfair with the opening of a new Maison in London's Burlington Arcade. The new flagship sits in striking distance of 24 Old Bond Street, the iconic address where the company first took up residence in 1832. Famed for its idiosyncratic fragrances amongst the court of George IV, James Atkinsons' original Mayfair emporium created an indelible mark on the tastes of London's high society.
Designer Christopher Jenner took on the responsibility fo breathing new life into the brand's imperishable love affair with Mayfair. Jenner was briefed to reignite Atkinsons' relationship with a contemporary cast of Mayfair heroes, heroines and dandies.
Spanning three floors, Atkinsons' new Maison features a barber shop on the lower ground level, offering a range of grooming treatments for men and women, while perfumes and fragrances are available to buy on the ground floor.
'The space is divided into three narratives; each floor communicates a different aspect and personality, therefore the colours and materials fall in-line with this objective,' says Jenner. 'The lower ground floor is dark and moody to reflect a traditional gentleman’s club environment. the ground floor is a chic, modern, crafted environment with a palette of rich natural materials to reflect the quality of the perfumes. The first floor is realised in a sophisticated palette of colour to reflect a Georgian salon and layered with bespoke furniture in brass, velvet glass and marble.'
The striking contemporary design elevates the olfactory narrative of the brand through a perfume bar crafted in Rio Nero marble and brass, illustrating the collection in material effect and reviving the feeling of discovery that captivated the original customers of 24 Old Bond Street.
The bar invites visitors to indulge themselves in the subtle nuances of scent and find the perfect one for their personality. The collection displayed on the bar are recipes from the past, which includes a scent created for Queen Victoria on her wedding day and the perfume worn by Beau Brummell, the original English dandy.
The first floor salon continues an intimate traditional of personal consultation. Shoppers are invited to discover their own affinities with scent within a bespoke sanctuary of hand-crafted furniture.
The company's archives are on display in the store, where visitors are invited to look at old perfume labels used on the bottles of notable Atkinsons clients, including Napoleon and Sarah Bernhardt, as well as view the original perfume bottles and account books. 'It’s less about a direct reference and more about projecting an attitude. However, key brand references like the basketweave pattern and cabinetry details can be linked to specific historic references from both the brand archive and their prior flagship at 24 Bond Street,' says Jenner.
'The modern notions of lifestyle and taste were invented by the Georgians who clamoured for novelty yet were meticulous about restraint. That tension is the essence of design, so our aim for the new Atkinson Maison has not been to integrate history but simply embody it for today,' says Jenner.
Photography: Michael Franke