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credit: Angel Central
credit: Angel Central


The renovation of Angel Central Shopping Center in London is a great example of why the community should not only be involved in the selection of the offer but also in architectural decisions. This article was created as part of reporting on the ACROSS readers’ trip to London in cooperation with the ACSP.

The renovation of a part of the Angel Central Shopping Centre in Islington, London, was completed in March 2021. Opened in 2002, the shopping facility houses leading retail brands and a cinema complex. The 15,793 sq m shopping center welcomes approximately ten million visitors a year.

CBRE Investment Management, the owner of the shopping destination, submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of a part of the shopping center to Islington Borough Council’s planning committee in June 2018, with the aim to make Angel Central one of the leading retail and leisure destinations in North London.

Community driven changes in refurbishment plan

The re-positioning of the angel wings sculpture was one of the milestones of the center’s 18 million Euro refurbishment plans at Angel. However, it was not a part of the original refurbishment plan. CBRE had originally wanted to remove the statue, but the sculpture was incorporated into the progressive new design for the center after local residents expressed the importance of the wings as part of the local community.

CBRE proposed to remove the angel wings sculpture located within the outdoor public space in the planning application and later submitted a revised application, which stated that the structure would be retained.

After discussions with the community and a clear statement that the new center’s aim is to remain an essential part of the northern London neighbourhood, CBRE had decided to lift the statue to gain more space. A complex task followed as the twelve-tonne, hand-rolled stainless steel sculpture, spanning fifteen meters, had to be raised 3.5 meters from its current position to sit atop a new footbridge. This new elevated location forms part of the planned al fresco dining area that will be constructed as a focal point of the center’s significant refurbishment plans. The sculpture, designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress in 2003, was intended to symbolize life and movement, and has now become an even more focal point of the area ever since – growing in popularity as an ‘Insta-hotspot’ in recent years.

The new concept followed a clear community, food and leisure approach to serve the local community and office neighboorhood as a place to meet, rest and eat. The renovation project has enabled the mall to add more restaurants, outdoor seating, and leisure spaces. It also involved the replacement of the existing lighting, ceilings, pavings, and balustrades to the public areas to provide a more modern look. On the first floor for example, an existing retail unit is to be converted to a restaurant with a fully glazed curtain walling system double the height, with terracotta baguettes installed externally as a brise soleil. The existing ceilings, lighting, pavings and balustrades in the public areas are to be fully replaced to provide a more modern appearance. The ground floor is dominated by the al fresco dining area, which was constructed as the centrepiece of the mall’s renovation plans.

The mall houses a 2043 sq m H&M store and other retailers such as GAP, Calzedonia, Monsoon, Accessorize, Oasis, Rituals, Argos, Paperchase, MUJI, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, and L’Occitane.

This article was created as part of the reporting about the ACROSS readers’ trip to London in cooperation with the ACSP. London has always been a sightseeing and shopping destination. Over the last years it has also become the place to visit due to its culinary highlights, with many innovative hospitality concepts. Therefore, we collaborated with the Austrian Council of Shopping Places (ACSP), Centerprise Group, and umdasch The Store Makers, to organize a two-day trip to London.

The focus was on entertainment and gastronomic concepts, which will be presented in future editoral series.

ACSP Study Trips
ACSP Study Trips

At least once a year, ACSP organizes study trips that focus on industry-relevant topics such as urban development, shopping centers or inner-city retail solutions.

The next ACSP trips are planned for:
–> Ljubljana 26.4.-27.4.2023
–> Den Haag /Rotterdam/Amsterdam 21./22. 9. 2023 


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