This project was considered to be the brands most high profile project for their new concept’s global rollout, it was also the brands first store with this concept in the UK.
The services installation was particularly challenging due to the existing building’s restricted floor to slab heights, which was exacerbated further by unusually large down stand structural elements and a high volume of landlord’s base build services that ran throughout the unit, including shared services such as the smoke extract and sprinkler systems. The external plant area dedicated to the unit was disproportionally small compared to the gross internal area of the unit and given the units location, the stringent planning requirements that needed to be adhered to brought an additional layer of complication.
In addition to the physical constraints, this new concept integrated a large amount of audio-visual equipment, including floor to ceiling screens and interactive displays throughout the shop floor. Careful consideration was required as to how these would be integrated within the store design to accommodate the large volume of cabling, power requirements, rack space and cooling demand.
The objective of this project was to integrate the services design in such a manner that it was minimally intrusive on the fit out of the store whilst trying to maximise the floor to ceiling heights throughout the retail space and achieving compliance with the stringent planning conditions without compromising on the performance of any of the systems.
Continual liaisons with the landlord ensured our compliance with their fit-out requirements, alongside a continual coordination exercise to accommodate their smoke extract ductwork which was incomplete at the time the construction phase started. Also working closely with the project team ensured we understood the requirements of the new AV concept and the necessary power/data and supporting services that needed to be in place for these.
Our measurable targets were to maximise floor to ceiling heights throughout the retail space. Ensure external plant operated as per the design whilst complying with the acoustic criteria of the planning requirements.
Actions taken to achieve targets
- Full site survey to verify any structural limitations and identify the location and type of landlords services that ran through the unit as the drawings provided were not 100% accurate. Scrutinising any areas for concern and communicating these with the project team at the earliest opportunity so they could be incorporated in the design development.
- Considered placement of fan coil units on the shop floor to eliminate any impact from crossovers of ductwork and structural elements whilst minimising access panels (for example placing 2No. FCUs in such a manner that both could be maintained from one access panel location).
- Where it was not possible to eliminate cross overs, concrete scans were requested for existing structural beams in specific areas to identify any reinforcement bars and determine where openings could be made to run services, eliminating the need to compromise on the finished ceiling heights.
- Working closely with the VRF manufacturer and acoustic louvre designers to ensure adequate attenuation, without compromising on the air flow of the condensers and accommodating all of this in the 10m2 plant deck.
The result was an impressive feat of engineering and installation coordination resulting in optimised floor to ceiling heights on both the ground and first floor. Seamless integration of the HVAC services keeping the visual appearance of the shop floor in line with the clients’ aesthetic demands and complete compliance with both the planning and landlords’ requirements.
Having exercised caution during the preliminary design stages, we were able to increase the floor to ceiling height on the first floor through minimising the impact of the services design, which pleased the architect and client achieving not only the greater height in the overall retail areas but also fewer access panels due to the innovative placement of the services.
The client was delighted with the end product, which was heavily promoted on their social media channels; “We are taking our brand experience to the next level at our new spectacular flagship store at London Oxford Street, which opened its doors last Friday! I am excited to see our omnichannel approach for retail come to life here in an inspiring and innovative way”.
As part of the ongoing relationship with the brand, FHP were appointed for their next flagship store project and the next two further retail fit-out projects.
Further to our collaborative working with the wider project team (architects and project managers) we were also awarded the detailed design of the adjoining unit, and subsequently the delivery of the design/construction for two retail brands (and new clients to us) as part of the fit out works at Battersea Power Station.