The Jigsaw in Bath’s Old Post Office was a bit of a change from the norm for AMD, in that we were responsible for the architectural and structural aspects of the project and not the design of the shop. It was a sensitive project involving a major strip out and rebuilding of the interior of a listed building in the center of Bath, drawing on our considerable experience of working with listed buildings. The major elements of this build were the stairs and balustrade, lift shaft and void in the first floor.
When we were initially brought to site on the ‘Liverpool One’ project we thought someone had transported us to a post-apocalyptic film set. There were no buildings to be seen for the massive groundworks in preparation for the huge scale of this city-wide development. Rounding a corner, one building remained; and that was where we were to work.
After a long process of working with the Liverpool One main contractor to make the building sound and tie it to the new shopping centre, we went to work on the concept and treatment. We wanted to keep the character of the building whilst creating a familiar, comfortable environment away from the glossy, new city out the front door. The idea that prevailed was that of a house; simple in retrospect, but creating a home concept from the concrete reinforced shell proved a challenge. The rooms were designated bedroom, dining room, dressing room etc. and the work started.
We are proud of the stair. A new technique was forged through prototyping sheet steel cut with a laser which eventually became the organic form you see in the pictures. Every panel was individually drawn and cut to fit the site and what prevailed is a delicate assembly that provides a beautiful and structurally sound ribbon flowing up the building.
Jigsaw has a history of opening shops in buildings with a distinctive sense of place, as well as for working with respected architects including Nigel Coates and John Pawson. AMD’s own relationship with Jigsaw began in 1999 when we designed the company’s new store on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill, West London. Since then, we have worked with Jigsaw on a number of successful new shops, including a flagship store in Chelsea, which is – at 6,000 square feet – the biggest of Jigsaw’s London shops. The store opened in 2004 and occupies a Grade II* listed building – a chapel built in 1905 that was stripped of its original interior during its use by the Ministry of Defence.