It’s November 2022 and Battersea Power Station is now open!
£9bn spent, 42 acres in size mammoth doesn’t even cover it! The word on the street is mixed despite some of our team having such positive views and over 250,000 people visiting in the first weekend.
Quieter that it could be otherwise, however it is mostly let, it’s just that not all of it is open yet, particularly the hospitality offering. Whilst this is a magnificent building, a huge block of bricks, imposing and proud, its white chimneys looking resplendent (especially against a bright blue sky), the interior feels dark and slightly overbearing.
There is minimal natural light in the retail spaces – architects have used black painted steel and industrial finishes to respect the monumental vernacular, but it does feel as though someone has turned off all the lights. In an age where we aspire to connect to nature, there is no real natural lighting except for a slither of sunshine through one side of the right-hand turbine hall looking inwards from the river.
I feel that the architects have missed a trick here (along with such dim lighting levels) and I wonder how long people will want to dwell in this retail monolith.
Aesop, Adidas, Jo Malone, lululemon, Mulberry, Zara and Nike – its got all the big names across a few retail categories and the store design concepts feature lots of use of timber and concrete finishes and volume-friendly layouts. It’s got apartments. restaurants and a 24,000 square feet of food hall; the art’otel just opened too this week. It’s great for shoppers to have more places to visit, it’s great for tourists, South London, and importantly, it is great for competition.
Westfield, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street… take note. Fight for your customers but please could Battersea turn up the lights?!