Re: Re: Clerys
Like the others, it ambled through the 1980s with little change, until the retail market picked up in line with the economy in the mid-1990s. With Arnotts undertaking a massive expansion programme in 1998-99, and an increasing young customer base being under-targeted, Clerys again underwent a massive transformation, which in any event was desperately needed in the 1970s sections in particular with their hideous grey suspended ceilings and dated fixtures. Executed floor by floor, the ground floor was refurbished in 1998-99, the basement in 2000, the first floor in 2002 and second floor in 2003-04 â€“ all carried out by Douglas Wallace Architects over the course of seven years. During this time the double height void in the North Earl Street elevation was also filled in with a striking glazed insert.
Though the grand gallery and other features have been lost, the interior of Clerys today is much truer to the original design concept, with the refurbishment programme rectifying previous errors, and new additions being sympathetic to the older features while also making an impact in their own right.
The grand staircase to the rear of the store is in excellent condition and looks as magnificent as ever.
A luxuriously deep piled, rich red carpet lines the marble steps, held down with apparently original fluted brass rods.
A sense of drama is generated by the sweeping curves of the original balustrading and mahogany handrail, an almost exact design of which can be found in Independent House on Middle Abbey Street of the same year.
The cross and circle motif is replicated on the iron window aprons outside, while the plaster Vitruvian scrolling adds an elegant flowing touch.
The sheer height of the ground floor is acknowledged by both a return and a half landing, the first of which features an elegant plaster arch. This used to contain text but has now been filled with a mirror.
The beauty of what the original gallery may have been like can be acknowledged here, with first floor columns sitting atop the ground floor ones.
Filled in with elegant railing units.
Beautifully refined plaster panelling punctuated with pilasters lines the rear wall of the staircase: