Thomas Heatherwick has transformed a Victorian coal depot in London’s King’s Cross, empty since the 1990s, into a new attraction, Coal Drops Yard. The renowned designer and architect has successfully completed his first major project in his firm’s home to the rapidly changing area of the British capital. And the famous platform 9-3/4 at the nearby historic train station has a serious competitor.
Two elongated brick volumes with the remains of old cast-iron railway overpasses stand at a short distance, but not parallel, but gradually approaching, which prompted the main idea. The intricate designs added by the architects make them literally reach for each other and ultimately unite in a sensual touch – almost a kiss. The cover was specially selected in blue-gray slate from the same Welsh quarries used on the original Victorian structures. Thanks to the unexpected curves of these seemingly most banal gable roofs, the covered central part of the entire cobbled public space of the shopping street is being formed.
The buildings of the coal warehouses built in 1850 have been restored in accordance with all restoration standards. Their autistic appearance was preserved as much as possible. Their two-level spaces with wide aisles have proven to be convenient to house more than 50 individual shops, studios, offices, workshops, restaurants and cafes. At the same time, almost all rental properties are individual and unique. They have already lost their desire to place their objects – COS, Aesop, Tom Dixon, Paul Smith, Fred Perry, Joseph Cheaney & Sons, Lavenham, American Vintage and many others. The suspended glazed room in the very heart of the complex will be occupied by Samsung.
In addition to the actual Coal Drops Yard shopping center, the Lower Stable Street area opened in parallel, which also became part of the quarter, but intended mainly for experimental brands, startups, workshops and cafes. So the project promises to become not just another mall, but an active social and creative place with its own unique, very mobile atmosphere and a vibrant program of events.