Undisputedly one of the top ten department stores in the UK, John Lewis Oxford Street is the flag ship of the John Lewis Partnership. With over 140 years on the same site, the store spans seven floors, stocks over half a million lines and is synonymous with excellent customer care, quality and reliability.
So, when it came to choosing a company to create the fire and smoke protection strategy as part of a £64m renovation and improvement programme in 2007, the John Lewis Partnership selected market-leading BLE Smoke & Fire Curtains – recently awarded the international UL standard for compliance.
BLE designed, manufactured and fitted all of the fire and smoke safety equipment in partnership with architects Wilson Mason and QS Davis Langdon & Everest. The UK manufactured equipment, which will eventually be rolled out to many of the new and refurbished John Lewis stores, has an exceptionally neat finish to ensure it blends seamlessly with the breath-taking new design. The smoke and fire curtains are fully compliant with current building regulations and, utilising the design agreed specifically with JLP, ensure minimal disruption during maintenance and repair.
The complete redesign of the 300,000 square foot store increased selling space by 16% and centered on the creation of two striking, light and airy atria. The fire strategy had to address the potential hazards created by these two vast wells, containing 24 new escalators, plus the additional of a 17,000 square foot food hall in the basement - the first food hall in the chain - and the opening of two new restaurants.
BLE engineers worked out-of-hours for four months to install the equipment, ensuring that John Lewis Oxford Street could remain open during the refurbishment without ever compromising the safety of shoppers in the store