In 2013 Ian Ritchie Architects were invited by Longmartin Properties Ltd, a joint venture between Shaftesbury PLC and The Mercers Company, to envisage enhancements to St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden to increase its vibrancy, identity and attractiveness and make it more inviting to passers-by. The project was completed in 2016. It is one of four multi-million developments in Covent Garden for which IRAL are leading the design.
St Martin’s Courtyard is a mixed-use development, including retail, entertainment, office, and residential accommodation. The Courtyard can be accessed from entrances on Mercer Street, Upper St Martin’s Lane and Long Acre.
IRAL’s scheme for the space evokes a sense of delight and human scale by the introduction of new lighting, landscape and colour to create a feeling of place that entices people to linger rather than walk through, whilst offering moments of amusement, charm and appreciation.
Façade colour transformations within the Courtyard created a warmer, lighter ambiance, and clarified markers and connections between the Courtyard and its three surrounding entrance zones.
IRAL designed a set of elegant, adaptable and structural brackets for St Martin’s Courtyard. Their shape takes inspiration from existing elements in Covent Garden. They enhance the overhead space and vistas in the Courtyard and Slingsby Place. The brackets can be fixed in 11 different positions to accommodate lamps, signs, hanging landscape planters and seasonal decorations, and are positioned so that the line of the brackets can be extended to form decorative arches of foliage or lights. Their adaptability allows elements to be hung at various heights. The effect is particularly attractive, drawing pedestrians in from adjacent streets.
IRAL also designed the distinctive pendant lamp to enhance the Courtyard’s identity. Inspired by the combination of Covent Garden’s floral history and current focus on fashion, it can be interpreted as either a flowering bud or piece of jewellery. Generous hanging planters emulate the design of the pendant lamp, and introduce landscape elements which soften the surrounding façades and public spaces.