Browns’ Immersive Room: Designing Without a Defined Brief

As HUSH and Browns commemorate a decade of collaboration, we investigate one of our more unusual projects with them and what it means to create a space without a “defined brief” and how HUSH and Browns worked together to achieve the vision in the Brook Street store.

Browns identified 39 Brook Street as their new central London location in 2018, a four-storey Grade II* townhouse, set within the Mayfair Conservation Area. The property became vacant in 2017 following departure of the previous long-standing tenant. Grosvenor Estates undertook an extensive refurbishment to bring it back to the market.

HUSH, alongside the project team, were tasked with creating an “immersive room” where artistic, sensory, and visionary installations take centre stage as short-term concepts – each with their own requirements necessitating the need for a continually adaptable space. A dedicated room that could be anything.

A room which could be anything.

Following its completion in 2020, the Browns immersive room has been home to a continued rotation of concepts and installations. Shoppers, art enthusiasts, exhibitionists, influencers and bloggers have been captivated by the ever-changing occupants, including award-winning artists, hosting the hottest new bar in town and featuring as a fully working powder room, just to name a few.

Designed to host practically anything, to be fitted out quickly and efficiently, and change every quarter, creating exclusive spaces with limited-time access, present fresh ideas and encourage newcomers and regulars back to the store.   

However, to allow for anything to occupy this space, the base work had to be planned and carefully constructed so that the building can provide the desired facilities of the incoming ideas, supporting the vision of Browns and their creative partners.

Necessary installation of services was needed to make the unimaginable possible. Mechanical works, ventilation, plumbing, electrics, lighting, acoustics and much more were meticulously planned to accommodate the expansive range of uses for the space, with flexibility at the core of the brief. The next change of space continued to be very different from any that had previously appeared, using the variety of facilities to provide an entirely unique experience. 

For HUSH, we drew on our experience of working on a similar ‘test bed’ concept previously trialled at the Browns East store, to help drive and support the Brook Street team. With provision of clear direction, defined roles and responsibilities, and challenged the design to push the parameters, enabled us and the team to fulfil the client’s aspirations, despite the added complication of Brook Street’s Grade II* listed status.

Is this the future of fashion?

The immersive room was already a unique point for the store, but Browns – being at the forefront of the fashion market – didn’t stop there. The immersive experience not only lies within the dedicated room space, but continues through the entire store, that combines technology, fashion, history and modernisation within a carefully curated luxury boutique.

High-tech interactive mirrors in the changing rooms; personal shopping, styling experiences; and the Browns retail app; allows for any customer to dive deeper into their personalised augmented journey. Browns’ integration of technology and fashion keeps them at the forefront of the retail experience, leading the way in how we interact within physical stores.

Designing without a brief.

In any circumstance, designing without a detailed brief would be a difficult task, however, this was further exacerbated with the combination of the building’s history, its Grade II* Listed status and being cited within a conservation area. At HUSH, we love a challenge, and this innovative space capable of transforming for various uses, underscores HUSH’s ability to embrace the unconventional and help to set the stage for a new era of experiential retail.

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