Client: Karen Millen, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 Designer: Brinkworth
Adam Brinkworth’s collaboration with fashion house Karen Millen began eight years ago when he made some tables for one of her shops. Since then, his consultancy Brinkworth has completed the design for more than 40 Karen Millen stores, enjoying a fruitful relationship with managing director Kevin Stanford.
‘It’s all done on trust and very organically… He’s very interested in creativity and design itself, so he keeps control of it and doesn’t delegate it,’ says Brinkworth. Unusually for a design group, Brinkworth manages the building work as well, allowing it to work in a more organic way and sometimes at very short notice.
It was this quality that first appealed to Stanford: ‘I always have a lot of respect for someone who knows how to make their designs,’ he says, also enjoying the added speed that a designer-contractor brings. ‘There’s a lot of trust there. Adam will start a shopfit at a day’s notice without contracts being signed,’ says Stanford.
Brinkworth gets quite a free rein with the designs. ‘They’re almost Adam’s shops as well as ours, because he’s given a lot of freedom,’ adds Stanford.
For the latest store in Knightsbridge, due to open at the end of this month, Brinkworth boldly plans to position the entrance off a side alley – not the main faÃ§ade. Instead, the shopfront will be left as a white, semi-opaque 6m-high screen for internally projected graphics and films.
Inside, the site was awkward. Brinkworth plans to make a feature of a narrow corridor linking the front and back retail spaces, by cladding it floor to ceiling in walnut, and tantalising shoppers to walk through by using eye-catching revolving wall panels of different textures on the back wall. Upstairs, Brinkworth plans a terrace pool beyond the shoe department, using mirrors to give the illusion of a larger expanse of water.