London-based interior designer Christopher Jenner has established a reputation for breathing life back into heritage brands in need of a contemporary update. His latest success story is a 219-year-old perfume brand, Atkinsons, which recently sought his expertise for the design of its London flagship.
Founded by George Atkinson in 1799, the English brand counted royalty and celebrities among its well-heeled customers in its heyday. Italian company Perfume Holding bought the brand from Procter & Gamble 10 years ago to reintroduce customers to Atkinsons’s rich heritage.
After a period of dormancy, the brand returned this past year with a new store that occupies two of the small but charming Regency-era shop spaces in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade—a stone’s throw from the brand’s original Grade II listed flagship on Old Bond Street, which closed in 1955.
Not just a store, but also a home
“We didn’t want Christopher to simply design a store,” says Perfume Holding CEO Dino Pace. “We wanted him to think about the new house of Atkinsons, an experiential place where people could literally breathe the essence of our creations and feel at home in a cozy and intimate space.”
Arranged over four narrow floors (including top-floor office space) that formerly housed two cashmere shops, the team opened up the layout and restored the facade to its original pre-war state. Inside, Jenner introduces customers to the brand and its story through a palette of aubergine and teal with accents of brass and bright orange—a nod to the brand’s distinctive packaging.
The basement level houses the store’s traditional barbershop service, boasting oak parquet floors, walls wrapped in woven grass panels, and a pair of teal blue Etro fabric curtains dividing the lounge-like waiting area from the barber’s chair. A tiny bathroom lined in raw orange silk is located off a narrow corridor that originally stretched the entire length of the arcade, back when it was used by delivery boys collecting orders for the great houses of London.
The ground floor functions as a display case for the perfumes. Atop a long black Rio Nero marble cash desk that matches the floor, the Atkinsons complete collection is lined up in jewel-like bottles and lit from above by a row of custom optical glass pendant lamps.
A vibrant orange bannister draws the eye to a set of stairs, lit with custom pink onyx wall sconces and lined with handmade Turkish carpet, as it twists upward on the right side of the shop. Upstairs, an intimate salon area is furnished with bespoke furniture: lounge seating is clustered around coffee tables with low-hanging counterbalanced lamps made from Arabescato marble and stained glass.
All of the store’s fixtures and furniture items are made in the United Kingdom—a crucial element for Jenner. “We wanted to align the brand with as many English crafts as possible,” he says. “This is fundamental in building upon and communicating the brand’s heritage.
“We’re changing the way that perfume is presented,” Jenner adds. “We’re offering the customer an experience, rather than just a product.”
who Architect and interior designer: Christopher Jenner. Contractor: ITS Interiors. Lighting: Erco. Graphics: PJ Drew. Acoustician: Bose.
what Wallcoverings and upholstery: Pierre Frey. Paint: Little Green; Paint and Paper Library. Lighting: Erco; Christopher Jenner, custom. Hardware: AH Brass. Seating: Christopher Jenner, custom. Decorative glass panels/partitions: Ruth Parker.