Project spotlight:
Coal Drops Yard and the Samsung KX experience venue.

Located a stone’s throw away from our London office in King’s Cross, Coal Drops Yard (CDY) is a retail destination, foodie hotspot and event space. It’s full of small independent shops as well as big brands like Paul Smith, Fred Perry and Samsung, all hoping to entice shoppers with the promise of a unique retail experience.

New look.

The first thing you’ll notice about CDY is the curious ‘kissing point’ between the two buildings, but it didn’t always look this way.

The site originally comprised two Victorian coal drops sheds (hence the name), which received coal from South Yorkshire, before off-loading to horse-drawn carts. Their next incarnation was as warehouse units, with one building used by Bagley’s nightclub, hosting some of the city’s biggest rave parties in the ‘90s and ‘00s.

As part of the new King’s Cross Estate development, CDY was redesigned by Thomas Heatherwick, who took the two converging arcaded sheds and connected them with the 'kissing point’. The result is a breath-taking sustainable space that respects the heritage of the site, filled with retailers, restaurants, cafes and bars, and surrounded by vibrant public realm.

“Working with Heatherwick Studio has been incredibly exciting. From the initial introduction of the concept design, the project developed into a rollercoaster ride of bold ideas and creativity.”

Ross Macpherson, Hoare Lea

A performance-based approach.

We developed the early-stage design to obtain planning approval, crafting a robust energy and sustainability strategy. Throughout the base-build and fit-out, we helped achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating, while maintaining the flexibility it required. The unique architecture of the two gabled roofs demanded a performance-based approach, so we tested and validated this unique environment for everything from pedestrian wind comfort to daylight and glare analysis.

New life in an old shell.

The historic chimney stacks were rebuilt to conceal catering extract ducts, and a network of underground services were designed to interlink the buildings across the site. By hiding the service corridors providing shell and core services to each of the retail units in the existing building fabric, the structure's historic architectural characteristics were integrated seamlessly into the new design. We’ve helped preserve these historic buildings for future generations.

Key figures.


retailers all provided with heating and cooling from low carbon district heating and cooling networks.


centralised common network system, which allows monitoring and control of all the systems for the site and future proofing for new technology trends.


historic chimney stacks were rebuilt to conceal catering extract systems.

“Getting the right team involved has always been critical to achieving success. Hoare Lea is a key component and has provided us with the right balance of creative design flair and diligent, reliable delivery.”

Morwenna Hall, Chief Operating Officer, Argent


MEP, Performance, Sustainability, BREEAM, Acoustics, Fire Engineering, Wind Analysis, Daylight and Glare and Vertical Transportation.

SamsungKX: an ‘experience venue’.

One of the main reasons to visit CDY is to check out the new Samsung flagship space. As an ‘experience centre’, at SamsungKX you can get to grips with new technology, work or relax in the café, watch talks, attend gigs and exercise classes, or host brand activations and product launches.


SamsungKX is not a shop; you can’t buy anything. However, you can…

- test conceptual technology that hasn’t yet gone to market

- discover the future of driving with their digital cockpit

- tag and draw with a Galaxy S10 digital ‘spray can’

- learn the art of music

- experience the connected home of the future

- immerse yourself in Virtual Reality driving

- add Augmented Reality notes to their AR message tree

The gift of sound and vision.

Our Audiovisual (AV) design team worked under the fitout contractor to develop the design of the audio, video and ICT networked systems for the space. We designed a high-quality multichannel audio system, as well as event audio and lighting infrastructure to enable hosting of concerts, product activations and store takeovers.


Our AV and ICT network designs had to ensure the space was future-proofed to support new technology and seasonal layouts. Fibre networking infrastructure currently supports 4k video distribution, with capacity for future expansion to 8k. Spare fibre, data and power infrastructure remains under the floor for when it is required.

With continually changing client and technology requirements, the project required a flexible design approach. To that end, the usual design process had to be broken down into infrastructure for early deployment then hardware procurement, and finally, install/programming. We worked in partnership with the AV/ICT installation contractor to progress the design simultaneously with the install.


Audiovisual, ICT, Sustainability, Acoustics, Security, Building Physics and Occupancy Sensing.