After 85 years, Foyles closed the doors of its flagship shop at 113-119 Charing Cross Road last Saturday. But don’t fret – it’s only moved a few doors down to a MEGA SPARKLY SWANKY new space in the old Central Saint Martins College at number 107, and it’s re-opening tomorrow, Saturday June 7. The old college building has been completely transformed into a modern, light and stylish new 37,000 square foot bookshop designed by architects Lifeshitz Davidson Sandilands, with an impressive central atrium and eight levels (four actual floors) packed full of over 200,000 titles.
So what else is new apart from the whopping great new space?
➤ A gallery curated by Futurecity which will be showing work by Turner Prize nominee and ex-Central Saint Martins student Mark Titchner – which has a pleasing symmetry to it.
➤A big events space which can seat 200 people for discussions, film screenings and readings etc. To celebrate their new home, they’ve organised the Foyles Grand Opening Festival from June 11 to July 5, which has so many events that I almost got car sick reading the list. Lots are ticketed and have already sold out but you can still go to plenty of the free ones. Find out more at foyles.co.uk/festival.
➤ A brand new café at the back of the store on one of the upper levels (RIP the old one) run by the people who do the café at the Whitechapel Gallery.
➤ A new in-store mobile search tool where you can browse book availability and locate books with an interactive map.
Foyles say that this is the largest bookshop to open in the UK so far this century, which, at a time when online bookselling is thriving and IRL bookshops are fighting for survival, is bold and impressive. They hope that this will be an enjoyable space people want to visit, somewhere that brings books to life, and we reckon it will. The shop wasn’t fully finished when we went in earlier this week so we look forward to visiting once it’s officially open, getting lost in the old-style labyrinth of bookshelves (which they have kept) and browsing through the new more open spaces. Congratulations on your new home, Foyles! We recommend you all pay them a visit soon to help them settle in.
Find out more about the Foyles Grand Opening Festival.