Europe’s biggest department store is just one of a series of palatial London emporiums whose architecture sees art and commerce dramatically combined
Napoleon allegedly dismissed Britain as a “nation of shopkeepers” and if this is indeed the case, then it is a condition that comes to glittering architectural fruition in London’s incomparable collection of department stores. From the monumental theatricality of Selfridges to the streamlined modernism of Peter Jones, London’s department stores not only reflect the architectural styles of the age from which they spring but they present a highly idealised image of consumerist culture and cosmopolitan urban living. Moreover, in a ruthless commercial age where the high-street is threatened by the explosion in online retail, department stores are the physical monuments to escapism that prove that architecture itself can be an effective marketing tool that sells experiences as well as merchandise.
Fortnum & Mason
WALK START LOCATION: Sloane Square tube station / Map
WALK ENDS: Oxford Street