DescriptionAt 120 Pall Mall, Lutyens was commissioned to design a showroom and office space for Crane Bennet Ltd, a firm specializing in heating and sanitary fixtures. Lutyens also designed several items of furniture for the building – a walnut chair & side table for the visitors’ waiting room, Boardroom table and chairs, and twin electric lighting sconces. The building was sandwiched between two existing buildings, on a site previously occupied by two houses. The interior of the Lutyens-designed building consisted of a sub-basement and basement below the pavement level, a double-height main showroom floor with a visitors’ waiting room or lounge on the mezzanine level above the south (rear) end and a mezzanine gallery and main staircase along the east side. Two full floors of office space were provided above the main showroom floor, with three additional partial floors above, facing Pall Mall. Lutyens’s plans called for signature detailing in the railings for the back staircase and above the archways on the ground level main floor.
The building faces Pall Mall with a load-bearing wall of ashlar Portland stone, which relates but does not copy the neighboring buildings. The large, two-story, arched window, asymmetrically placed at the ground floor level, announces the original function of the building as a showroom. Butler states that this window was stipulated by the client. The ground floor fenestration is completed by pedimented entrance doorway and a square window centered vertically above the door, and aligned horizontally with the top of the arched window. This square window and the arched storeroom window are deeply recessed within the stone wall, while the entrance ornament is applied to the smooth ashlar surface. Above the ground level ensemble, the building rises in a balanced, symmetrical flow, highlighted by a row of giant “Delhi” order engaged columns and pilasters across the second and third floor offices, surmounted by a large, continuous entablature. The fifth floor is stepped back with a balustrade in front and a pediment across the top of the building. (Contributor: Robyn Prater)
Also Cited InBradley S & Pevsner N (2003) LONDON 6: WESTMINSTER. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Butler, A., 1950. The architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens: the Lutyens memorial series. Vol III: Town and Public Buildings: Memorials: The Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, Country Life: London and Scibners: New York.
ClientCrane Bennett Ltd