Editor Stacey Hailes talks to Harrods fashion director Helen David about the iconic department stores newly refurbished Fine Jewellery Room…
As Harrods recently unveiled its new Fine Jewellery Room following a lavish refurbishment, Professional Jeweller caught up with fashion director Helen David to hear all about the inspiration behind the redesigned space and to discuss how the new look will benefit the iconic British department store going forward.
PJ: Why did Harrods decide to refurbish the Fine Jewellery Room?
HD: The Fine Jewellery Room was originally built in the 1990s to showcase watches and fine jewellery together; the exterior boutiques lined with back-lit onyx were designed to house the feminine fine jewellery maisons, whilst the central counters were designed with masculine watches in mind. Since the launch of the Fine Watch Room a few years ago, we have been able to dedicate all the counters to Fine Jewellery brands, and as such have wanted to elevate the environment to best showcase these precious creations. The new David Collins Studio-designed counters have been inspired by historic images of the Fine Jewellery department from Harrods’ archives, whilst complementing the feminine exterior and also allowing for privatised spaces, made necessary due to our clients’ spending habits. We have seen an increase in High Jewellery, large stone sales and bespoke orders across the department in recent years, so have included private VIP salons to facilitate these conversations within the counters, as well as a bespoke lighting concept to showcase our brands’ jewellery collections in their most sparkling light.
PJ: What was the vision behind the new Fine Jewellery Room?
HD: Our overarching vision was to create a luxurious and sophisticated new environment, not only elevating our customers’ retail experience at Harrods, but ultimately confirming Harrods’ position as the world’s leading destination for
PJ: What value did David Collins Studio add to the project?
HD: We have collaborated closely with David Collins Studio on a number of projects at Harrods, including the design of Shoe Heaven in 2014, and are proud to have cultivated a strong relationship with them over the years. They bring a distinctive vision to the table, and are pioneering in terms of their innovative, contemporary approach to luxury design, whilst respecting the environment and heritage behind each project.
PJ: What inspired the design of the room?
HD: David Collins Studio were inspired by historic images from Harrods’ archives of the original Fine Jewellery department – the Gem Room – which opened its doors in 1911. Our Fine Jewellery heritage is incredibly important to us and this is referenced throughout the design.
PJ: Could you tell us about some of the specific details chosen for the Fine Jewellery Room?
HD: The new counters have been finished in cast bronze panels with a filigree design inspired by artwork from the old Gem Room at Harrods, glass panels encasing gilded fabric to create semi-transparent screens, as well as back-lit onyx panels within the private areas to complement the room’s feminine onyx interior. The room also boasts a state-of-the-art lighting system which has been designed by a specialist jewellery lighting designer, creating enhanced ambient lighting as well as in the showcases themselves.
PJ: Why did you decide to offer more privatisation spaces?
HD: Harrods prides itself on consistently offering the highest level of customer service. The inclusion of private spaces, even within each central counter space, was paramount in achieving this, and will allow us to offer a more personal retail experience to our clients shopping with all of our brands, including those not located within a boutique environment.
PJ: What advantages does the new room give Harrods?
HD: The redesign of the room will not only offer our clients a dramatically improved shopping experience within the Fine Jewellery Room, but also allows us to showcase some of the most special pieces we carry in the entire store in the best possible luxury environment.
PJ: What are your hopes for the new Fine Jewellery Room?
HD: This refurbishment will serve to further establish the Fine Jewellery Room at Harrods as the ultimate destination for service excellence, a pioneering luxury environment, showcasing the world’s best Fine Jewellery brands all in one beautiful location.
PJ: Are there any new jewellery brands you are particularly excited about having in store now?
HD: Two of our most recent additions to the space are designer brand Boghossian – famed for its ‘art of inlay’ – and world-renowned celebrity jeweller Lorraine Schwartz, who has launched at Harrods as a UK exclusive. The arrival of these two fine jewellery houses increases our offer to twenty five maisons and cements Harrods’ position as a global leader in fine jewellery.