Selfridges, Duke Street

Location: Selfridges, Duke Street - London

Selfridges also known as Selfridges & Co the high-end retail department store based in the UK was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908. The flagship store in London’s Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK after Harrods and opened on 15 March 1909.

The 50’s saw the acquisition to the Lewis chain, the 60’s the Sears group and moving closer to present day in 2003 the chain was acquired by Canadian based Galen Weston for £598 million. Weston and family; listed as the second wealthiest in Canada with luxury food and department stores spanning to Ireland and the Netherlands chose rather than create further Selfridges stores to renovate the Oxford Street store, creating rooftop entertainment namely “The restaurant on the roof” an emerald green boating lake and the “Big Rooftop tea and golf party” Perhaps elaborately recreating the innovative marketing techniques of its founder Harry himself.

With on-off talks of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street and the launch of the new Elizabeth Line in 2019 which is set to bring an extra 60 million visitors to the area annually, Westminster Council have stated that a priority would be to enable more green space thus tackling safety issues and to help omit air pollution.

Selfridges proceeded with a Public realm development to upgrade the eastern side of the store on Duke Street and create a new focal point entrance to include as designed by David Chipperfield Architects to include new paving and furniture; a new stone bench and stone drinking water fountain made of Italian marble along with planting of 4 established trees.

GreenBlue Urban are proud to have been chosen in the tree planting aspect from concept to design and installation of 4 Liquidambar trees at this high profile streetscape redevelopment.

Two years of design team meetings alongside Djao Rakitine, WSP and Sir Robert McAlpine enabled GreenBlue Urban to be fully immersed in the tree pit detail to ensure optimal tree growth integration and protection of many utilities and the paving for years to come along with minimal maintenance.
Our technical expertise proved invaluable with the selection of the trees at a specialized nursery based in the Netherlands along with the design and manufacture of 4 custom handmade brass tree grilles.

Assisting key contractors onsite including Nurture Landscapes who fully support the GBU tree pit concept, GreenBlue provided full training on this difficult installation from initial excavation, the install of soil cells – predominantly RootSpace 600 for the 4 tree pits, however a combination of StrataCells were also used in difficult areas due to the numerous services and nearby building obstructions. The guidance of roots was imperative in this project and the use of guying for the fully established trees along with specialist soil to ensure the installation was a resounding success and delivered on time.

GreenBlue Urban’s help in coordinating the tree pits around the services and the technical solutions provided to allow trees to grow in such an area has been critical.