Located just to the north of Oxford Street and adjacent to Selfridges, Como is delivering the striking new headquarters for clothing retailer Reiss. The building has been constructed with a concrete frame on a new basement and has a retained brickwork façade on one elevation. Reiss’ flagship store takes two floors of high quality retail space while head office is located in the three upper floors.
This limited competition to design the new headquarters of the fashion house Reiss was won with a provocative idea about representation and display. The building would need to function as an icon for the Reiss brand, on a site in Barrett Street directly overlooked by the hordes of shoppers that pass down Oxford Street. The headquarters would also accommodate a vertical sandwich of different functions with the flagship Reiss store on the first two floors, and above it three storeys of offices, cutting rooms and design studios.
The façade consists of a double-glazed glass layer lying behind an acrylic rain-screen. The acrylic is assembled in panels with periodic openings inducing a stack effect to cool this south-facing glazed façade. The acrylic layer has a complex machined profile – solid panels of acrylic are cut away by large vertical gauges of varying width and depth, within which are etched even finer vertical striations. The abstract effect is similar to that of a bar code but when viewed obliquely takes on the shimmering quality of a sheet of silk. The effect changes at night when the acrylic is edge-lit giving it the capacity to vary the building’s appearance.