London Studio 5 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5HH
It’s interesting to see how many designers did, and still do, come via what seems like a slightly leftfield route to retail design. Glenn Kinnersley and Mick Kent are a prime and highly successful example of this.
Kinnersley Kent Design’s (KKD) founding duo first met at Central School of Art & Design in London, whilst they were studying for MA’s in Industrial Design and Product Design respectively.
A while later their paths crossed again whilst working for the Burton Group designing concepts for fashion chains such as Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins, and in 1990 they set up a studio in London, with one in Dubai following in 2008. The partnership has now grown to include Paul McElroy, who heads up the studio in Dubai, and Jill Higgins, based in London.
Specialising in interiors, branding and graphic design, KKD work across the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for clients including Fortnum and Mason, House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Historic Royal Palaces and the East India Company.
They have taken quintessentially British brands like Waitrose and House of Fraser into the Middle East; creating concepts that are relevant and meaningful to both the domestic market and its ex-pat community.
Their recent work for the four-hundred-year-old East India Company is a delight. The Edinburgh store has a jewel-like quality, with opulent materials and finishes and its paisley etched red ceiling which conjure up visions of merchant’s travels to the colonies.
In their projects for fashion brand Mint Velvet, their approach is clearly visible as they retain the brand DNA in their concepts, whilst creating a look and feel which is congruent with their customers and locations; whether they be in brand new shopping centres in Bluewater or Dubai, or in a historic building in York.
Their concept for French restaurant Bandol, in London’s Chelsea, applies a similar thought process. Using warm tones and natural materials (including an olive tree within the central dining space), the interior provides the rustic appeal of Provence and the French Riviera, whilst the inclusion of contemporary furniture shows consideration to its target audience.
The recent refurbishment project for the quintessentially English Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is beautiful, opening up spaces and incorporating design features resonant with the building’s Art Deco transformation in the 1930s. Following on from this projects KKD has been commissioned to design further hospitality spaces, the latest of which is a stylish hotel for Aloft Al Ain in the UAE, which has seen them design all elements of the hotel from reception, restaurants, bars, guest rooms and even the hotel’s fitness centre.
For House of Fraser first out of town and first sustainable store, they have created a concept that is a serious competitor to its contemporaries. Spacious and light, the store includes multiple eco elements and features that are relevant to its Rushden lakes location. Another department store project can be found in Beruit, for high-end retailer ABC – beautifully executed the concept uses bespoke patterns to create a strong individual identity in each department.
In 2018 they designed the first flagship for contemporary British womenswear label The Fold. Targeting professional women, the concept is based on the idea of a members club. More than a store, it is a flexible space that serves as a relaxed shopping space by day and in the evenings hosts events, providing an opportunity for ‘customers’ to network amongst their contemporaries and meet new contacts outside the work environment. Referencing the name and the tailoring of fabric in the brand’s collections, folded sculptural forms act as the key brand signature for the store, which features a bespoke geometric cash-wrap cum members reception desk and crafted folded brass pendant lights and fixture details, all beautifully executed.
More recently they created branding and interiors for the NY roastery Roasting Plant with the launch of their first location in the UK. The beans are displayed in the coffee house allowing customers to create their own personalised blend with up to four beans. Whilst the roasting process creates theatre, the environment is unfussy and calm, with the clean lines and light tones of the finishes, embellished only with some storytelling graphics to educate and decorate the space.
At the other end of the scale their work for the fashion avenue extension at Dubai Mall uses the finest quality materials to provide a 5* experience, making the mall a global luxury fashion destination. The consultancy was responsible for design detailing, bespoke furniture, signage as well as the creation of design guidelines for the mall’s retail tenants.
Working on one off stores to large scale shopping malls and across a range of sectors from fashion, health and beauty and supermarkets to department stores, automotive, hospitality and many more, KKD has a rich heritage of producing considered and thoughtful design concepts.