Back in 1840, Glasgow architect John Baird was commissioned by Sir James Campbell, to design the large block of business premises in Buchanan Street, known as Prince’s Buildings. The buildings formed a four-storey merchant square in yellow sandstone, named in honour of the birth of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII)
A year or so later, the building was ready for occupancy and the then Lord Provost of Glasgow, James Campbell, having gone into partnership with his brother, expanded their clothing business within the new premises under the company name of J. & W. Campbell & Co.
The medallion picture beside shows the favourite occupation of Sir James Campbell: using his compasses. His expertise on planning and erecting buildings was of great reputation.
He put the emphasis on one particular element: lighting! He thought that architects were neglecting this key factor and insisted that the construction of any building should always provide for plenty of light in all areas.
That’s exactly what the architectural firm of Hugh Martin & Partners took into consideration, in 1985, when they undertook the restoration of the building to deliver the actual structure of the Princes Square Shopping Centre.
From the magnificently designed peacock on top of the facade, that guards the entrance without rustling its feathers, to the beautiful finishings inside the atrium along with more than thirty stores covering fashion, beauty, art, jewellery, gifts and lifestyle, all under a magnificent Art Nouveau glass roof, the Princes Square Shopping Centre is now Scotland’s leading specialities leisure centre.
What really catched my fancy when we last visited, was the central entrance from Buchanan Street leading up into a 2 storey escalator which takes you directly to the upper terrace gallery.
The walls of this entrance adorns the series of “Trompe L’oeil” artistic paintings designed by Dai Vaughan to commemorate famous Glaswegians of the past: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Watt, Lord Kelvin, David Livingstone, Thomas Lipton, William Burrell, James Maxton et Sir John Moore…
Mairiuna and I were so impressed by this superb work of art, as Jean-Claude was also, that we spent more time going up, again and again, the escalator passage than we took time shopping.
A feature of this design is that the figures come and go in focus as a visitor moves slowly up the escalator!
As we were experiencing with this awesome visual effect, we took some footage which is now inside this video put together by Jean-Claude. The images speak for themselves. Check it out! You won’t regret it.
Circulation around the square, as in any building, is important in a centre with 3 upper levels of shopping. With the spirit of the ‘theme’ however, movement is seen as part of the pleasure and not a cause for anxiety.
Visitors are ‘invite’ to explore all corners of the building. The lifts, staircases and escalators are designed to allow people to feel part of the theatrical display of pattern and colour.
The ‘grand’ staircase, lifts and escalators are all clearly visible from the entrances. The grand staircase is a double helix designed to allow people to progress gradually between the lower ground, ground and first floor levels. The curved landing between each flight also allow people to stand and look around.
We sincerely hope that Princes Square will set a trend towards the creation of more shopping centres where the shopper not only enjoys the experience, but received good service and quality merchandise, and most of all feels a sense of place .
Source : www.princessquare.co.uk
Even though you are not in a shopping mood, it is definitely worth a visit.
For a good choice of hotels with discount prices, visit Where to stay in Glasgow for more information.