Thomas Heatherwick’s Coal Drops Yard – shopping in the Instagram age

Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘kissing’ roofs top a new high-end shopping mall in the old coal sheds. But why does the whole King’s Cross scheme not quite feel real?

I am reading the most pretentious and verbose label ever attached to tea towel. If it were a caption next to a work of contemporary art, you would think it excessive. The towel, to give you a condensed version, “twists the traditional expression of a kitchen textile”; with “a vibrant mélange look”, achieved by doing interesting things to yarns and twill stripes, it “adds a contemporary edge to the kitchen”. The tea towel costs £15. Fifteen pounds! Enough to say that it’s a very nice towel, if not one worth the price nor the word count on the label, and that it epitomises a certain sort of contemporary retail that is writ large in the shopping development around it, Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, London.

You know that if anything genuinely challenging happened here it would be escorted off the premises

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