Urban Outfitters opens Oxford St flagship, with Birmingham next

US retailer Urban Outfitters will open its three-storey UK flagship on London's Oxford Street today.

Formerly a C&A store, the 15,000 sq ft (1,395 sq m) shop is the retailer's largest in the UK, and joins outlets at Kensington High Street and Covent Garden in London, as well as Glasgow and Dublin.

Like its previous openings, much of the retailer's store design work has been carried out in the US, in this case by Philadelphia-based Otto Design Group, with local design practice Nick McMahon and London architects Lewis & Hickey employed to interpret and implement the design blueprint.

The store uses the basement for menswear, the ground floor for gifts and accessories and the first floor to house womenswear and homewares.

The central feature is the galvanised steel staircase, with timber steps, giving views from basement to first. On the landing between ground and first floors, an open-sided doll's house has been created, based on a prototype trialled at the retailer's Santa Monica store.

Other highlights include exposed brickwork, raw-look concrete, driftwood fixturing in the basement and pigmented plasterwork for walls on the ground-floor.

Commenting on the store's stripped-down look, Urban Outfitters design and construction director Steve Morris said: 'We will always adopt the philosophy that if something is there to do a job then it should be seen, not hidden.'

Shopfitting was carried out by the Chorus Group.

Birmingham is next, with an opening expected in March next year. New York consultancy Pompei AD is working on the design.

Morris said the retailer is looking to open 'a dozen or so' stores across Europe.