It has to be the most anticipated store opening that London's seen for some time. For almost a year, Céline's logo-branded Mayfair windows have longingly enticed us. But given that Mount Street was set to be designer Phoebe Philo's 'local', she wanted to get it just right. And hasn't she just. From the parquetry marble floors (comprising twelve different stone variations, including malachite and sodalite, and resembling the work of German painter Gerhard Richter from a bird's eye view), to the assortment of commissioned objects (think gleaming gold lamps, a plush day bed and jewellery vitrines all by Danish artist FOS), no surface has been left unconsidered.
In contrast to the minimalist retail design ethos that has proceeded this store, Philo has taken a more colourful approach than perhaps expected, offering up a fresh store concept that will be extended to new openings in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and Dallas in coming years. Almost as striking as the mosaic floor is the space's overall use of texture, which extends from the pebblecrete small leather goods bar, to the ceramic pots sporting evergreen plants, interior walls clad in clear grey marmorino plaster, and the ceiling rendered with raw concrete. And while you're looking up, the suspended LED light boxes automatically dim and brighten depending on the time of day, emitting a warm glow no matter what it's like outside. They're as smart as the current window display of dry sea grass that offers privacy, while sharing Philo's raw material brief with Mount Street. The destination store is a prime real estate art space as covetable as her painterly S/S 2014 collection.