Everything you need to know about Blue Mountain School, Shoreditch
The high street might be dead, but Blue Mountain School offers a high-end alternative to shopping online
Founders James Brown and Christie Fels opened Blue Mountain School in spring 2018 on the site of their previous venture Hostem, an experimental retail store the pair established back in 2010. The refurbished, multidisciplinary space designed by 6a architects now plays host to several different areas, including a listening room, an exhibition space, a dining room and an open archive stocked with designer clothing. Achingly hip staff guide guests around the venue – all stocky wooden banisters, rugged grey walls and thick glass doors – while explaining the purpose of the ‘experience’: essentially, to house a space dedicated to nurturing engagements and interactions between different practices.
On the top floor of Blue Mountain School is Grace’s, a listening room with a collection of records handpicked by Hackney-based Low Company. The space here is designed by Valentin Loellmann, and kitted out with low-level seating and one-off furniture pieces built in the designer’s Maastricht studio. The tranquil vibes float through the room, spilling out onto the building’s wisteria-laced roof terrace.
Below Grace’s is Blue Projects, the exhibition wing of Blue Mountain School. This experimental space aims to provide artists with a unique context, outside the traditional gallery environment, in which to show their work. At the time of our visit, the work of four Los Angeles-based artists cohabited here. A sparse collection of ruffled coats designed by Kristin Dickson-Okuda hung on the walls, while oil paintings by artist Alex Olson were strategically placed to offset the garments. Lower to the ground, furniture by Shin Okuda – specifically, stools and chairs clad in netted veils – competed playfully for out attention, while complimenting the other artifacts in the room.
On the first floor of the venue is the BDDW, a collaboration with designer Tyler Hays showcasing handcrafted ceramics, furniture and garments from Hay’s Philadelphia studio. The first outpost outside his Milan and New York showrooms, everything here has a handmade, earthy aesthetic.
Across the way – at the belly of Blue Mountain School’s offering – is Mãos, the kitchen, table and wine room overseen by Nuno Mendes, executive chef of Chiltern Firehouse and the chef patron of Taberna do Mercado. Offering just one serving per night, 16 lucky diners are seated round one communal table and served Mendes’ seasonal three-hour tasting menu. It’s not exclusive – you can book via the website – but it’s a far cry from a typical restaurant experience, with the chefs appearing to talk diners through what they’ve eaten between each course.
If you’re planning on dropping into Blue Mountain School for a look around, don’t leave without paying a visit to the basement floor’s Hostem Archive; many of Hostem’s former fans, who have an eye for unique design, come just for this. Spread across the double-height floor – with some items neatly piled in giant draws and others preserved in clothing bags on rails – the rotating collection here includes garments by Anecho, Geoffrey B. Small and Amy Revier. Also housed within the Hostem Archive is Perfumer H where a selection of bespoke and seasonal fragrances are showcased. The space, with its custom-built terrazzo and stylish concrete table, is the first outpost outside of Lyn Harris’ Perfumer H laboratory in Marylebone.
Blue Mountain School is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10.30 AM – 6.30 PM Closed for lunch daily, 1.00 –1.45 PM Monday by appointment only.