arts and design

Balenciaga debuts "raw architecture" store aesthetic at Sloane Street flagship


Fashion brand Balenciaga has renovated its flagship store in London, which features aged and distressed surfaces and exposed construction elements.


Located on Sloane Street, a luxury shopping destination in West London, the flagship store debuts Balenciaga‘s new concept for its retail locations.

The exterior of the balenciaga sloane street flagship
Top: Balenciaga has reopened its flagship store on Sloane Street in London. Above: the store was renovated with a “raw architecture” concept

Spread across two floors and totalling 722 squares metres, the newly renovated space was informed by building sites, according to the brand.

“It introduces a new concept we are calling Raw Architecture,” a Balenciaga spokesperson told Dezeen. “It has elements of construction sites, civil engineering projects, and abandoned spaces, but balanced with finer details.”

Balenciaga flagship london has concrete interiors
The interior of the store was clad in distressed and patinated concrete

The exterior of the store sets the tone, with large floor to ceiling windows set between bands of aged concrete that aim to tie the storefront to adjoining structures.

Inside, distressed concrete predominantly covers the walls, floors and ceilings.

columns line the inteiror of the Balenciaga flagship
Columns have cracked and stained surfaces

Stained and cracked columns are spaced across the patinated concrete floors, creating the look and feel of a construction site.

Where not finished in concrete, the floors are fitted with large glass panels that reveal the rubble, debris and construction waste strewn across the ground beneath.

An elevator core has an unfinished look
A glass floor highlights rubble and construction materials below

An unfinished, breeze-block-wrapped elevator core is covered in brightly hued construction markings. It rises from the glass-topped rubble floors to connect with the above.

The retail space surrounding the elevator core contains purposely stained, cast concrete shelving that will display Balenciaga’s accessories.

A dark stairwell at the centre of the store also provides access to the upper floor.

Its walls are clad in blackened concrete, while the ceiling above is fitted with a translucent sheet that diffuses blue and white light to imitate daylight.

Shelving and mirrors line the stained concrete walls
Distressed leather seating was placed throughout the flagship

A dropped ceiling constructed from metal mesh panels was partially installed across the store, organised in clusters to highlight cables, pipes, lighting and ventilation systems.

Distressed leather and stained white seating are installed between rough-edged partition walls, which support cross-cut metal shelving.

View of the balenciaga london flagship's first floor
Digital screens, LED lights and aluminium displays contrast with the distressed look

“There are rough, untreated surfaces, faded graffiti, fissures and faults, exposed ventilation systems, visible cables, and also polished fixtures and high-tech displays,” the brand said.

“With the Raw Architecture concept, exterior facades, shopping levels, and differentiated surfaces react to the space’s surroundings and histories as well, giving new meaning to site-specificity.”

Breeze blocks surround an elevator core
The inner workings of the store were left exposed

Balenciaga recently made headlines by presenting its Spring Summer 2022 collection in a short film featuring The Simpsons.

The brand also collaborated with video game Fortnite to release a collection of in-game clothes and limited edition physical garments.



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