Idly walking or rushing past, with any journey down Regent Street St James's, one cannot fail to notice that St James's Market is on its way: its wrap is the current biggest in the UK, made bespoke to cover the largest retained facade scheme in Europe.
The wrap's 2,200 square metres weighs in at 1,100 kilos and is stretched over a bespoke frame of 660 metres of tubular steel. The graphic pattern of light and dark grey lines on black covers over half a vertical acre.
Practically, the wrap serves two purposes: it shields the restoration work being undertaken on the original 1920s Grade II listed stone façade, while providing a great canvas for the new development, here communicating the size, scale and positive impact it will have on the local area.
St James's Market is envisioned to complete in 2016 and will be a new destination for St James's. It will create a new public square and two new city blocks of bold architecture from award-winning international trailblazers Make Architects.
A new art pavilion is being designed at its centre, and one-off high-quality restaurants will cluster around the public square. Directly below the huge wrap, there will be large flagship retail units along Regent Street St James's, with ceilings over three metres high contained within the beautiful original facade that stonemasons to the Queen, Paye, are carefully restoring.
The wrap was produced and installed by Embrace over three weeks as they abseiled from the seventh floor. Constructed from six separate pieces and produced by a huge printer in their St Albans factory, the wrap is made from fully recyclable PVC.