Architectural Association Bookshop

NEX, London, 2012


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Bookshop overview 

Tae Kim (website)     Download Original

  • Bookshop overview    
  • Window and wall View    
  • View from Bedford Square    
  • Interior view    
  • Bookshop Mirror.jpg    
  • Woman Reading    
  • Bookshop view with mirror    
  • Woman in front of Bookshelf    
  • Booktable    
  • Floor Plan and Floor Height     
  • Wall Elevation    
  • Book Shelf and Magazine Shelf    
  • Workdesk, Display table, Cashdesk, and Books stoarge    
  • Work deskexplode    
  • Display Table Explode    
  • Cash Desk Explode    
  • CNC Sheet files    
  • Light fitting Section drawing    

Interior and Furniture design for an Architectural Bookshop within a Grade I listed building in Central London

The Architectural Association bookshop is one of the UK’s leading architectural booksellers. As part of the schools on-going development programme it was decided to relocate the shop to improve the retail experience with better display and lighting, attract more customers, and create extra shelf space.

This brief had to be met within three key constraints: a tight budget of £400/m2 inclusive of full fit-out and furnishing costs; preservation of sensitive listed features including cornice work, dado rails, skirting’s and internal plaster finishes; and a construction programme that minimised loss of trading.

Most refurbishment projects adopt a loose fit approach between old and new to give onsite flexibility. To more sensitively adapt to the context, we created a range of furniture to sit lightly in the space with exactness, requiring no skirtings or packing. To accommodate variations of 150mm in the floor and 100mm in the walls we commissioned a 3D laser survey of the rooms, which assisted us in the design and manufacture of a bespoke range of furniture within a flat pack budget.

Almost 1000 pieces of birch plywood were cut on a computer controlled router then waxed, flat-packed, and shipped to Bedford Square for assembly and fitting according to our detailed schematic instructions. Floors were finished with hard wearing but sympathetic woven vinyl. Custom designed lighting fittings were designed by NEX to be fixed to the rear of the bookshelves instead of the walls.


  • Begun: Feb 2012
  • Completed: Mar 2012
  • Floor area: 100m2
  • Sectors: Retail, Education
  • Total cost: £40,000
  • Tender date: Oct 2011
  • Address: AA Bookshop, Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES, United Kingdom

Professional Team