Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
Part fountain, part landscape folly, Tadao Ando’s first build in the UK (which was formally unveiled yesterday) speaks volumes for Ando’s ability to build unobtrusive, but beautiful, urban masterpieces. Constructed of flat glass blocks washed by gentle surges of water, the Aqua Oval blends discretely into its ritzy Mayfair neighbourhood, its reflective surface spraying dappled light up against the foliage of the trees and surrounding red-brick architecture.
Ando’s inspiration arose from his interest in the idea of dualities. ‘I employed the oval, which consists of two focal points, to signify the dynamic balance between dichotomies such as East and West, simplicity and complexity, and silence and dynamism,’ he explains. ‘It was my wish to create a space within which various dialogues and interrelationships are initiated.’
It’s an apt aspiration since the Aqua Oval is part of a bigger project led by Westminster City Council and property group Grosvenor to rejuvenate the adjacent Mount Street. The formerly staid streetscape made up of open-by-appointment-only galleries and antique shops, has today been transformed into a vibrant, charming, even sometimes edgy, shopping destination. Granted the fresh and extended pavements of York stone, elegant granite sets, improved lighting and lavish street furniture haven’t gone unnoticed, but it is the heap of blue-chip fashion boutiques lured to pitch up alongside Mayfair stalwarts such as Allens butchers, Sautters cigars and the Hamiltons Gallery, that has ensured this discreetly fashionable London lane is now firmly on our map.
By: Daven Wu
The real catalyst for change on Mount Street was the opening of the Marc Jacobs store in 2007, in what had previously been an antique shop. It was a radical move to open away from the accepted ‘luxury streets' that captured the attention of the fashion industry. Across the road, diffusion label Marc by Marc Jacobs opened in 2009.
24-25 Mount Street
44. 20 7907 25 15
London's moneyed and celebrity set flock to this Mayfair institution, which means snagging a table at Scotts requires patience. The onyx bar offers a perfect perch for people watching.
20 Mount Street
44. 207 495 73 09
Australian skin-care brand Aesop has long been a Wallpaper* favourite as much for its impeccably packaged range of plant-based, herbal products as for its minimalist, individualistic interiors. Pick up its latest travel kit of cleanser and hydrating cream.
91 Mount Street
44. 020 7409 23 58
The red-soled maestro’s Mount Street boutique is a magnet for London’s smart set. The collection is displayed in mirrored alcoves alongside must-have handbags. Behind more mirrors is a private VIP room.
17 Mount Street
44. 207 491 00 33
Under the watchful eye of creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere, the venerable French fashion house has reinvented itself for the new millennium with clothes that blend street smarts with fine tailoring.
12 Mount Street
44. 207 317 44 00
It’s fitting that Winston Churchill, a man known for his cigars, once lived above Sautter which has been selling an extensive collection of cigars and cigar accessories for 50 years now. Stock up Cohiba Esplendidos and Montecristo Especials.
106 Mount Street
44. 207 499 48 66
Due to open sometime in the late summer, Shizaru is the brainchild of the Khalili brothers , sons of art collector and philanthropist David Khalili. Billing itself as a concept gallery, it will feature a mix of modern sculpture, furniture, photography, jewellery and fashion alongside vintage and antique pieces.
112 Mount Street
When it comes to afternoon tea, chef Helene Darroze is intent on keeping things exceptional without messing with tradition. In a recent partnership with with best friend and ‘Queen of Jam’, Christine Ferber, the ‘jam trolley’ now offers guests a choice of over 30 home-made jams including South of France figs with rasberries and quince jelly with rose petals.
The Connaught, Carlos Place
44. 207 499 70 70
Styled like a gracious mid-19th century ducal residence, Roland Mouret’s showroom on Carlos Place is a lush cocoon of beautifully appointed salons, and equally beautiful clothes that fairly float on the racks.
8 Carlos Place
It’s a little incongruous to find a butcher, even one as wonderfully nostalgic as Allens, shoehorned between Azzaro and Goyard, but that’s part of the charm of Mount Street. With its comprehensive menu of game and meats, it’s time to stock up the larder.
117 Mount Street
44. 207 499 58 31
With its mix of late 20th century leaders such as Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe with contemporary masters such as Guido Mocafico, Alison Jackson and Miles Aldridge, Hamiltons, steered under the discerning eye of Tim Jefferies, remains firmly on top as UK’s premier photography gallery.
13 Carlos Place
44. 207 499 94 93
Eschewing the crowded strip along Old Bond and New Bond Streets, Spanish leather specialists Loewe have chosen to open their first London outlet on Mount Street. The warmly lit interiors are by Peter Marino.
125 Mount Street
44. 207 499 02 66
The phrase ‘discreetly fashionable’ could describe both Mount Street and Lanvin’s ladies’ boutique. The always impeccable collection is backed up by a smart courteous staff.
128 Mount Street
44. 207 491 18 39
In addition to being one of the most talented shoe designers to emerge in recent years, the 30-something Brit is also the newest kid on the block with the opening of his new boutique in May this year.
5 Mount Street
44. 207 499 57 81
The late Doug Hayward opened up shop on Mount Street in 1966 and swiftly garnered a reputation as tailor to the stars, dressing the likes of Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Clint Eastwood and Peter Sellers. Following his death in 2008, the business was taken over by ex-Kilgour tailor Ritchie Charlton who, while treating the place with the utmost respect, has embarked on a subtle revamp including adding a ready-to-wear collection and giving a subtle twist to the ties and knitwear.
95 Mount Street
44. 207 499 55 74