David Chipperfield Architects
Selfridges is one of the most iconic beaux-arts style shopping malls in the centre of London built on Oxford Street. It is the second-largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and opened in 1909. By the end of the 1930s, Selfridges had expanded into a new building, built in a sober art deco style.
The refurbishment of the external flooring was to create a unique pattern developed by David Chipperfield Architects. The contrast pattern was possible thanks to two different Portuguese limestones Moleanos and Azul Valverde. This modern contrast creates an astonishing look for this iconic building where thousands of people go by every day.
Moleanos is a Portuguese limestone with light beige coloured background and a slight greyish tonality, with thin to medium grain and disperse brownish fine spots. Due to its medium hardness, it is frequently used for cladding, flooring, street furniture and other stonework. This type of stone is very popular in the United Kingdom due to its similarities to Portland and resistance to weather conditions.
Azul Valverde is also a limestone from Portugal with a dark blue homogeneous colour and thin to medium grain. Its shades of dark blue create the perfect contrast with the neutral tonality of Moleanos.
LSI studied the best options alongside the architects to understand which stones were the most appropriate for the project, due to the characteristics of the area. Moleanos and Azul Valverde hardness allow the limestones to endure almost all climate and special conditions. These stones are recommended to areas with a lot of traffic due to their durability.
Its pattern consisted of a modern twist on a classic design. Using neutral Moleanos to cover most of the floor plan and using strips of Azul Valverde to contrast and create an elegant movement on the floor.
The finish applied to the flooring was honed, turning the surface smooth but without shine or light reflections. In this case, the honed finish is more appropriate than the polished, due to the external erosion factors. When it comes to the polished finish, in the long run, the loss of shine is more noticeable, and more maintenance is needed. On the other hand, with the honed finish, the detrition of the stone is less noticeable and does not require as much care to maintain its original appearance. It also creates more friction than the polished finish.