Penhaligon’s, a perfumery, was established in the 19th century. The brand was bought by Franco Zeffirelli in the late 1970s then built up by Sheila Pickles, who opened the first new shop in Wellington Street, Covent Garden. Murray John worked as joiner on the second shop in London, and then became the designer and architect for subsequent work, including outlets in New York.
The essence of the brand was exclusivity: shops were in listed buildings and furnished with antique shop-fittings. MJA managed signage design; sourced antiques; and directed the work. The company was later bought by the owners of Calvin Klein, who adopted a less artisan approach in extending the brand over the United States.
The Burlington Arcade shop opened in 1991. We were concerned about the scarcity of mahogany and the difficulties of reliable sourcing, so we adopted a simple, classical model for showcases in painted softwood.