In November last year London’s King’s Cross saw the opening of shopping centre Coal Drops Yard, just a stone’s throw away from the railway station, Granary Square and the plush offices of tech giants like Facebook and Google. It sits within a building that has an important place in London’s history and evolution, as the place where, in the mid- and late-19th century, coal mined in the north of the country was ‘dropped’ by trains, to be sorted and distributed to other parts of the country.
Besides retaining the name in homage to the building’s roots, historical elements of the structure have been retained and highlighted in the refurbishment. But the stunning structure created by architect Heatherwick Studio was just the start. As Tamsin Green, Project Leader at Heatherwick Studio told CR, the design of the space is important in shaping a retail experience, but won’t singularly draw people in. “In terms of people being drawn to actually come here and spend a day at the weekend here you have to be offering them more than just retail, there has to be something else going on,” she says. “I think more and more it is about design but it’s also about programming and events and things that are changing.”
This concept of constant change is built into the way Coal Drops Yard operates; besides a diverse range of luxury stores, high-street brands, independent craft shops and so on, the shopping centre has a calendar full of pop-up events, workshops and even fitness lessons to keep the public coming back.