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Mean Machine

Architecture Today, February 2000

'Hand-made brick at Cullum & Nightingale's Harley-Davidson showroom.'

'Located just off the King's Road in London, Warr's Harley-Davidson showroom occupies a prominent site. It forms the first phase of a projected four-storey development which will complete the oval shape, replace the existing workshop and provide further residential or commerical space above.

'The main showroom is a tall (5.5m) volume around the core containing services and vertical circulation. The elaborately profiled fair-faced concrete slab radiating out from the core forms a ceiling to the space from which display objects - including motorcycles - can be suspended. The structure is of in situ concrete clad in curved nine inch brickwork with brick-clad columns around the perimeter of the showroom. The handmade clay bricks are of a warm orange-red colour - intended, even in the dull London light, to glow as if bathed in southern sun.

'The materials of the interior of the showroom are generally unadorned concrete, brick and wood, materials which will age gracefully with a minimum of maintenance. The choice of finishes is in keeping with the toughness, tradition and quality associated with the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The display counters were specially designed; the counter-tops of solid polished walnut are cantilevered from chrome louvred bases, which double up as 'radiators' for the low-velocity air-conditioning system.'