Customer experience design consultancy, Household, has reinvented 1A St James’s, the spiritual home of high end tobacconist, Dunhill Tobacco London. While departing from the formality of a traditional gentleman’s club, the team has created an ultra-stylish environment which celebrates the fascinating history and craft of tobacco.
This particular site on St James’s Street has a far-reaching heritage as a tobacconist, set against a street that has been heavily populated with luxury members’ clubs, vintners, shoemakers, tailors and barbers for over four centuries.
Despite the contemporary feel to this aspirational lifestyle hang-out, Household has certainly not negated this rich past in its design of the venue. “We took the history of the street, and what it meant to its gentleman customers as our inspiration,” explains Household’s creative director, Simon”Stacey.
“The design of 1A St James’s – with the inclusion of private humidors, one-to-one access to the master blender, and the members’ club feel of the cigar lounge – creates an intimate sensorial experience that would have appealed as much to the discerning gentleman of the past as it does the modern Bon Vivant today.”
From the iconic architectural red brick and stone arch of the shop front, and the welcoming glow of the striking interior ceiling feature inside, 1A St James’s instantly sets the scene for its exlusive offering.
Inside, the Sampling Lounge offers a relaxed space in which guests can sit in comfort and privacy to enjoy sample cigars, play a game of chess, or even play with vintage Dunhill cards specifically sourced for the lounge. Sleek, contemporary furniture is housed within rich timber architectural screens, while the traditional parquet floor is interspersed with copper planks engraved with intriguing quotes about the indulgence of tobacco.
Moving through into the humidor, the parquet flooring and the unique cedar blade structure of the ceiling creates a seamless flow between the two spaces. Here, the most regular customers have access to one of 56 copper personal humidors – arranged as an impressive display wall – where they are encouraged to keep their own personal cigars within optimum storage conditions.
The connection between these two spaces is integral to the tobacconist’s unique service ritual. Guests are accompanied by staff into the humidor, where they can browse cigar menus, before returning to the Sampling Lounge to await their own bespoke tray of cigars. This carefully-curated collection of tobacco products is presented in elegant, bespoke vitrines of black nickel, bronze and glass.
he Master Blenders room could be considered the heart of 1A St James’s, however. The impressive space is dominated by the Tobacco Table – an engraved copper tobacco wheel that is ceremoniously opened to reveal a plethora of different tobacco types from around the globe, from which all tobacco products are blended.
Guests are encouraged to touch and smell the tobaccos, while they discover more about its quality and how exactly the blending process works.
A regular calendar of events will anchor this insightful and exclusive offering, with evenings of indulgence for Dunhill’s special customers. In order to facilitate the social dimension of such events, bespoke glass screens fold back to integrate all three rooms into one highly impactful and immersive space.