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Salesroom and Offices

for Graff Diamonds, New Bond Street, London

For the new salon for Graff Diamonds we completely refurbished an existing building. Construction is to a very high standard.

We were very pleased to have the opportunity to work with techniques and materials not part of the repertoire normally available. Examples are the figured hand-carved Portland stone facade, the cast railings for which models were specially carved, loosely based on designs culled from early nineteenth-century pattern books. Similarly, the sixteen marble columns of the interior are of Daino Reale marble which we selected specially for the job from a single large block in Carrara, taking advice from stonemasons as to how the spiral graining could be used to best advantage by clever cutting of the block and by taking care over the ordering, handing and grading of the columns in the salon.

The showcases are literally revolutionary in that they have a computer-controlled motor system which gently rotates them so that jewels can be accessed from within the showroom and yet displays can be mounted on both salon and street sides of the showcases. This involved a lengthy consultation process with a Cambridge firm of robotics engineers. Complementary to this was the design of the timber cases made from pre-war Cuban mahogany to a design based on furniture by Molitor. We employed specially designed and carved details and brackets in gilded brass (ormulu) which were made in Paris, since only in France can the appropriate mercury-gilding be done (other types of gilding give the wrong colouration). We were also involved in the design of the busts for use in the case and other design accessories.

Security in the building is a major consideration. A great number of cameras are successfully hidden within the detailing and the facade is specially steel-reinforced behind the stone with immensely thick colour-corrected multi-laminate glass. Full air conditioning had to be discreetly incorporated.

The whole is an extraordinary shoe-horning together of the most craft-based specialist techniques and materials with very specific high technological requirements.

The development of the design, which involved many fully rendered drawings, models and full-scale prototypes was overseen by the highly discerning and equally demanding eye of the client, Mr. Graff, and of his consultant Andre de Cacqueray who designed the chairs, tables and incidental furniture, advised on points of detail and oversaw the soft furnishing and the decoration.

The refurbishment established something of a benchmark in the high quality jewellery and fashion world and did not pass unnoticed in the architectural press: