If you follow me on instagram you will know that last week I was invited back to Heal’s to dress one of their windows following a similar project last summer. Only this time I was to be promoted. This time I (and my fellow window-dresser Tiffany Grant-Riley) were asked to decorate the huge windows on either side of the entrance to the Tottenham Court Road store.
Iconic is an over-used word, but I think, in this case, it is perhaps justified when it comes to this particular store. One of the best-known and best-loved furniture stores in London, Heal’s was established in 1810 to supply bedding and run as a family business until 1993.
It has always championed British design and many of the store’s early designs were by Ambrose Heal himself, a leading member of the arts and craft movement and founding member of the Design and Industries Association, whose slogan was Nothing Need Be Ugly.
The designer Lucienne Day was one of the early designers for the fabric department – her 1951 Calyx design has been re-issued – and more recently the store has worked with Russell Pinch, who designed his first bed for them, as well as Matthew Hilton and Tom Raffield and it sells all the classics from Anglepoise to Ercol.
In addition to well-made furniture by up and coming designers, Heal’s has also adopted the slogan Great Design at a Great Price. And that is where Tiffany and I came in. We were asked to showcase two ranges from the store; Morten and Brunel.
I was asked to work with Brunel – an industrial range with a mid-century vibe which is perfect for those with small spaces. For example you can create a modular sofa with a footstool and an L-shaped cushion but you can simply swap the cushion and stool to the other end if you need to sofa to face the other way if you move house.
The range also includes shelves that can simply lean against the wall without needing to be fixed as well as a desk that could later be a dressing table and a dining table that comes with a space-saving bench.
It was designed by Rob Scarlett, who was named Young Designer of the year at the New Design Awards in 2003 and was immediately spotted by Heal’s. He went on to open his own studio, Scarlett Design, 2010 and his range for Heal’s is one of their best-selling.
I was given a long space, as you can see from the images above, in which to showcase the whole range. I chose to imagine it as a small open-plan apartment with the dining table in the middle to divide sleeping from sitting and with the table doubling up as desk and dining.
Tiffany worked with the Morten range, also designed exlcusively for Heal’s by John Jenkins, and which has a more pared-back Scandinavian feel to it which is very in keeping with Tiff’s minimal aesthetic. You can read all about her design on her blog Curate & Display tomorrow (Friday 9 February).
The windows will be there for the rest of the month but the whole of the front showroom features well-prices pieces so if you’re passing by do drop in. You never know what you might find.