Writing the glass: Issey Miyake shop Sloane Street 1983 – NGS

It should come as no surprise that the city hosting the first major retrospective of much fawned and famed Architect David Chipperfield’s work, Idea e Realita, is Padua, Italy

Chipperfield has built in Britain, but very little, considering his international reputation.  At the beginning of his solo career in the mid-1980s, he created a shop for Issey Miyake on London’s Sloane Street and that is where I met him. This was when Chipperfield left Foster Associates and set up his own practice, in an office of his own design, in Camden.

Most recently, there has been the purposeful north London studio for the sculptor Antony Gormley. He also designed the acclaimed National Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames and a house for Nick Knight, the fashion photographer.


Issey Miyake Store Sloane Street – The Brief 

Signwrite on glass set Issey Miyake running vertically:  Helvetica extra bold upper lower case in deep ultramarine blue.

Preparation hand drawn artwork and brand new kit:  New pallet dippers and fresh signwriting enamel colours by Keeps of Clerkenwell. New ground sheet, top quality twill canvas.

Colour test – Approved by David Copperfield Architect, Issey Miyake and admin design coordinator

Set out pallet and mixed vibrant blue

Applied colour to glass – Chipperfield approved it

New dipper leaked – blue tinted turpentine cascaded onto £150.000 lime stone steps…

Design coordinator screamed

Issey Miyake turned whiteish

Chipperfield’s mouth hung wide open and motionless

Action required

Swiftly set pallet down on newspaper

Rolled canvas sheet onto area – stood on it … prayed

Pretended everything was totally cool… told the three that everything would be just fine…

Thought seriously about running away very quickly (I was 22 yrs old and quite fit)

Realised I had to move at some point – so did they…

Stepped off… with faux confidence, removed the dust sheet and to my complete astonishment the stain had completely gone.

Painted the sign.

Never trusted new kit from that day on,

Now use large coffee jar lids taped in place on pallet.

Ground sheets


Signwriting progressed as normal – client watched process and approved on site

Fee:  £220.00


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