M&S Oxford Street: potential designs for the controversial new store have been revealed

The saga of the demolition of the M&S flagship store on Oxford Street has been going on for over 1,000 days. 

The retailer first submitted an application to demolish the art deco Orchard House store near Marble Arch almost three years ago. After complaints by architecture enthusiasts, being blocked by the government and a subsequent legal battle, M&S finally won the right to have the old store knocked down in March 2024. 

Now, some potential designs have been revealed for the future flagship store, but not by Marks & Sparks. 

In a competition independent from Marks & Spencer, judges from Architects’ Journal and SAVE Britain’s Heritage have selected six teams to work up their ideas for the M&S Oxford Street building.

The six teams – Connolly Wellingham, Saqqra, Jestico Whiles, Marks Barfield, Avanti Architects and Add Apt – will each receive a £5,000 grant and participate in a day-long workshop to develop their concepts further through sketching, model-making, and discussion, which will take place this week. 

Interestingly, all the designs involve retrofitting the original 1929 building, and there’s no mention of the demolition. The competition for the designs appears to be speculative and nothing to do with the retailer. M&S hasn’t offered any comment on how and when the store will be knocked down. 

It’s worth noting that during a hearing against Secretary of State Michael Gove – who was found to have unlawfully blocked the M&S demolition – property inspector David Nicholson said being able to carry out ‘meaningful refurbishment’ was ‘unlikely’, meaning demolition was the only option.

Retrofitting the building was found to be too costly and difficult, meaning M&S at Orchard House would either have to close or build an entirely new building. 

M&S operations director Sacha Berendji said in a statement the retailer’s planned redevelopment ‘would deliver one of London’s greenest buildings, create thousands of new jobs and rejuvenate the capital’s premier shopping district’.

However, the Architects Journal and SAVE Britain’s Heritage are hoping to change M&S’s mind with this architecture competition. You can read about the designs in more depth online here

Here are some images of the designs. 

Design for the M&S flagship
Image: Add Apt Architects
Design for the M&S flagship
Image: Saqqra
Design for the M&S flagship
Image: Connolly Wellingham
Design for the M&S flagship
Image: Avanti Architects
Design for the M&S flagship
Image: Marks Barfield Architects

ICYMI: Cara Delevingne’s childhood home is on the market, and it’s a megamansion.

Plus: London is getting a brand-new fleet of electric double-decker buses.