Design Detail: The White Tower

The Tower of London's gift shop sees roughly 7000 tourists a day
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Posted November 14, 2017

Concept: A gift shop in the British capital’s über-historic Tower of London features a modular design that preserves its ancient surroundings.

1 MARVELOUS MERCHANDISING

The merchandising in the space had to be eclectic yet curated to appeal to the approximately 7000 daily tourists, both international and domestic, who walk through the 900-sq.-ft. gift shop toward the end of their journey through the late-12th Century site.

2 LOOK, DON’T TOUCH

“The bespoke lights are fixed to perimeter units, so they’re being supported, but not touching the walls,” says Simon Krapf, designer at Kinnersley Kent Design (London), the firm charged with the space’s aesthetic. He explains that, due to historic building restrictions, new lighting could not be affixed to the ceiling or walls. Crafted using lightweight molded plastic, the fixtures are painted to look metallic.

3 IN SHINING ARMOR

Set slightly back into the alcoves, these blackened steel and oak fixtures are modular. The shelves have a mesh backing, allowing the wall to peek through while also subtly referencing chainmail. Backlit, the illumination highlights the uneven texture of the ancient walls.

4 WARS OF THE ROSES

Designers used architecturally salvaged flagstone to cover the existing flooring in the alcoves and fill gaps in the central walkway. An undiscovered Tudor-era wall was found during installation, and after being examined by specialists, it was preserved by being resealed with the new floor.

5 AT MY CHAMBER DOOR

The directed lighting helps draw attention to the decorative oak doors in the space that feature a pattern routed out of the timber to reveal a layer of stainless steel beneath. The pattern is inspired by armor located elsewhere in the Tower. 

Photography: Kate Berry, Los Angeles