Taking more than 35,000 sq ft over three floors of the former BHS department store on London’s busiest shopping street, Market Hall West End is now the UK’s largest food hall.
Guests are greeted by a stairway to food heaven on Holles Street (just off Oxford Street), rising over a boutique gym at ground floor and inviting visitors up to 11 kitchens, four bars, a coffee cart, TV studio, private dining/events space and a roof terrace. This is the third Market Hall to arrive in London in the past two years, following successful locations in Fulham and Victoria in 2018 – all designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects.
The design process was extremely collaborative, fast, tense, revealing and focused, Steve Dickson, Senior Associate at FaulknerBrowns, tells us. ‘The concept was very much about bringing back unloved or underused spaces of architectural interest and celebrate their inherent qualities,’ says Steve. ‘In this case to pair the building right back to its mid-century concrete frame – the revealed structure gives a rich urban texture and neutral tone, providing a backdrop for the traders to display their brands.’
The key design ambition was to create high value spaces at a low cost, which drove creative and efficient use of the existing building, together with new interventions. The retailers sit centrally at the heart of the scheme and form the key character of the space, with punchy vibrant branding sitting well against the raw industrial backdrop of the existing building.
‘Market Hall West End is the largest food market hall in the UK and was delivered at half the cost of typical food retail,’ says Steve. ‘That’s pretty unique, but more importantly it provides a platform for innovative food businesses: offering an affordable route to central locations with low overheads and a turnover-based arrangement.