A polished and modern space, this alley links Bond Street with Hanover Square, and was built as part of the Crossrail project.
A large block of buildings between Hanover Square and Bond Street had to be cleared to create space to build the eastern ticket office for the Elizabeth line, and naturally, something then had to be built back afterwards. Therefore, this 1.3-acre development deal was agreed with Great Portland Estates to rebuild the block.
Although there had been a small, and usually locked passageway on the Bond Street side, leading to a courtyard, it was a dead-end, whereas now there’s a passageway leading right through the site linking both sides for the first time. Although nominally public, it’s lockable, and when it will be locked is still to be decided, but likely at night only.
The new alley is named after one of the buildings that sat on Bond Street in the same location, known as Medici Court, and that had the small passageway leading to a courtyard that sat behind, called Dering Yard. As the new alley leads all the way through, in the middle, they’ve created a new courtyard about three times the size of the old Dering Yard, and to provide a large lightwell for the surrounding offices.
The developer describes the courtyard as “the first public courtyards to open in Mayfair for more than a century”, although technically it replaces a courtyard that already existed, if just as a delivery yard.
The planning document’s described the central courtyard as a “well designed pocket oasis”, and maybe it’s due to the winter trees but it feels less an oasis than maybe a barren volcanic landscape that’s been transplanted from Iceland?
They’ve not arrived yet, but there will be some shops or cafes lining the north side of the courtyard, along with the restaurant that has already arrived at the far end. The courtyard can’t have too much planting though, as it sits above a basement, half of which is the restaurant, and half for storage, and one “room” set aside for the solitary large tree.
As part of the development, a row of shops and offices facing Bond Street was also demolished, and rebuilt as a single development, mostly retaining the old facade.
Leading to Bond Street is what’s known as the Medici Arcade, which will have shop windows facing into it, and has been built with a softly curved uplit ceiling giving it a very Bond-Street style poshness. At the moment, they’re still finishing off, not just preparing for the Elizabeth line, but also the retailers, currently expected to be Canali, Pronovias and Moyses Stevens, are not due to move in until next year.
A northern passageway leading off the courtyard is currently locked but is due to be open to the public, eventually. Do spend a moment looking at the office reception though, with a dramatic lighting effect.
The other end of the alley, leading to Hanover Gardens and the Elizabeth line entrance has a very different feel. Double the height of the other entrance, it’s less a shopping arcade than a wide passageway that’s aimed at being more obvious as a route to use. Decorative ceiling lights give it a sense of occasion though.
As a final thought – this is the first time I can recall seeing a formal road sign with the name of a tube line on it.