The alleys of London: Medici Court, W1

Refined and modern space, this alley connects Bond Street to Hanover Square and was built as part of the Crossrail project.

A large block of buildings between Hanover Square and Bond Street had to be cleared to create space to build the East Elizabeth Line ticket office, and naturally something had to be rebuilt afterwards. Therefore, this 1.3 acre development agreement was entered into with Great Portland Estates to rebuild the block.

Even though there had been a small, generally locked passage on the Bond Street side, leading to a courtyard, it was a dead end, while there is now a passage crossing the site connecting the two sides for the first time. Although nominally public, it is lockable, and it is yet to be decided when it will be locked, but likely at night only.

The new lane is named after one of the buildings that stood on Bond Street in the same spot, known as Medici Court, which had the small passage leading to a courtyard behind, called Dering Yard. As the new lane leads all the way down the middle, they created a new yard about three times the size of the old Dering yard, and to provide a large skylight for the surrounding offices.

The developer describes the yard as “the first public courtyards to open in Mayfair in over a century,” although it technically replaces a yard that already existed, if only as a delivery yard.

The planning document describes the central courtyard as a “well-designed pocket oasis”, and perhaps this is due to the winter trees, but it looks less like an oasis and more like a barren volcanic landscape that has been transplanted. from Iceland?

They haven’t arrived yet, but there will be shops or cafes lining the north side of the courtyard, as well as the restaurant that has already arrived at the back. The courtyard cannot have too many plantings, however, as it is above a basement, half of which is the restaurant and the other half for storage, and a “room” reserved for the large solitary tree. .

As part of the development, a row of shops and offices facing Bond Street was also demolished and rebuilt as a single development, mostly retaining the old facade.

Leading down Bond Street is what is known as the Medici Arcade, which will have storefronts facing it, and was built with a lightly curved ceiling giving it a very chic Bond Street style. At the moment, they are still finishing, not only the preparation of the Elizabeth line, but also the retailers, which currently should be Canali, Pronovias and Moyses Stevens, are not expected to move in until next year.

A northern passage leading to the courtyard is currently locked but should eventually be open to the public. However, spend a moment gazing at the office reception, with a dramatic lighting effect.

The other end of the driveway, leading to Hanover Gardens and the Elizabeth Line entrance, has a very different feel. Double the height of the other entrance, it is less a shopping arcade than a wide passage which is intended to be more obvious as the path to take. Decorative ceiling lights, however, give it a feeling of occasion.

As a final thought – this is the first time I can remember seeing an official road sign with the name of a metro line on it.

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