When you’re looking to create something different, compelling and totally irresistible that really captures the zeitgeist, it takes confidence and a lot of know-how. Pantechnicon in Belgravia is an epicentre of creativity, where you’ll see some of the most brilliant ideas collide in true creative technicolour. We asked Kylie Clark, Head of Japanese Experiences, to tell us more about this incredible lifestyle hub in the heart of Motcomb Street.
Tell us a bit more about Pantechnicon
Pantechnicon was built in 1830 as an art and crafts centre (Pantechnicon derives from the Greek words Pan ‘all’ and Techne ‘craft and art’) before being turned into an upmarket warehouse for residents to store finds from their travels around the world. During this time the building’s horse and carriages used to transport furniture were given the name Pantechnicon – and that’s the way the word entered the English dictionary with its definition set as ‘a large van especially one used for furniture removes or a warehouse where furniture is stored’.
Today, Pantechnicon has been sensitively restored and is now a cultural space centred around food, drink, design and shopping experiences – all inspired by both Nordic and Japanese cultures. With a focus on creativity and excellent craftsmanship, the six floors are divided into eight individual spaces: the Roof Garden, Eldr, Café Kitsuné, the Kiosk, Sachi, Sakaya, the Edit and the Studio.
What does your role as Head of Japanese Experiences involve?
Anything and everything to do with Japan! At Pantechnicon, we offer fun experiences that enrich and inspire, so a big part of my job is planning our events in collaboration with talented people such as artists, chefs, brewers, craftspeople and designers.
We regularly hold masterclasses on Japanese drinks and food pairing workshops exploring the different ways sake can be enjoyed beyond sushi. For our younger visitors we offer activities like origami, ceramics and drawing workshops and for adults we have a wide range of social and cultural experiences including kintsugi – the art of mending broken objects with precious metals.
Sourcing beautiful things from Japan is another part of my role. I spent over a year working with makers in Japan to source the tableware and uniforms for our new Japanese restaurant, Sachi.
What’s the favourite part of your role?
Working in the beautiful space that is Pantechnicon, surrounded by gorgeous things from Japan and the Nordics and working with a fantastic team of people who are passionate about good food, drink and design. I love that my role involves producing experiences that bring people together to be creative, discover new things, and have a good time.
Why did you set up home in Belgravia?
The iconic Pantechnicon building was the perfect space to transform into a destination for hospitality, retail, design and experiences. The location is made all the better by being in Belgravia – right in the heart of London, yet peaceful, surrounded by grand architecture but with a true neighbourhood feel, surrounded by green spaces. Pantechnicon is on pedestrianised Motcomb Street and we have Halkin Arcade behind us – a secret garden oasis. The fantastic location enables us to offer outdoor seating in front, behind and on the roof of Pantechnicon.
Our neighbouring businesses have warmly welcomed Pantechnicon to Belgravia. We are running cheese and sake pairing workshops in collaboration with the Fine Cheese Co., also located on Motcomb Street and look forward to seeing what we can do with our other neighbours.
What is it that makes Belgravia so unique?
Much of Belgravia was built between 1820-1850 and it is remarkable that most of its grand architecture and garden squares have remained just as perfect as when they were first constructed. Yet look inside the historic buildings on the shopping streets of Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street, West Halkin Street and in Eccleston Yards and you will find contemporary galleries, hip and stylish boutiques, salons, and independent retailers, bakeries, cafes, bars and restaurants.
A few of your favourite things about Belgravia
It is a beautiful neighbourhood to explore on foot. The Wander Art trail through Mayfair and Belgravia is London’s largest outdoor gallery. When I’m here, I feel like I am never more than two minutes from somewhere with great food or an outdoor art installation!
What’s next for Pantechnicon?
We’ll have a regular flow of talent joining us from Japan and the Nordic countries. Expect to see guest chefs, visiting mixologists, wine makers, brewers and distillers, artists and makers in residence, brand pop-ups, and art installations. Please do connect with us on Instagram @_pantechnicon or by subscribing to our newsletter as we have lots coming up!