Heal’s Spiral Staircase
The famous Cecil Brewer Staircase at Heal’s Furniture Store is (according to Heal’s) listed in ‘Places To See In Your Lifetime’. It was designed in 1916 by the architect Cecil Brewer, cousin of Ambrose Heal who founded the furniture store.
It’s certainly loved worldwide and is one of the most frequently photographed interiors in London (judging by Instagram…)
Where does it lead?
It was commissioned as the grand stairway to the new Mansard Gallery, a contemporary exhibition space where Ambrose aimed to showcase new design and promote links between designed, manufacturers and retailers.
Together with Frank Pick, the Managing Director of London Underground and a fellow advocate for design, the opening exhibition was ‘Poster Pictures’ and included (naturally) London Underground posters.
The gallery’s most influential display was an exhibition of Modern French Art, ground-breaking for its time and a show that introduced artists like Matisse and Picasso to the British public.
Later, instead of just displaying artwork, the Gallery created a kind of showroom effect indicating how British consumers could recreate the look of contemporary art at home, promoting new – and shocking – interior fashions like moderne, Art Deco and tubular style furniture.
Sadly the Mansard Gallery no longer exists and is simply part of the furniture store, however Heal’s does still work to promote links with current art exhibitions (see their post on the National Gallery’s ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ here) even if it’s only for a marketing promotion.
It’s now become the haunt of those seeking spiral staircase instagram gold.
Find it for yourself on Tottenham Court Road.
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