Kensington High Street, like many shopping thoroughfares, has so much to distract at ground level that it’s easy to miss a lot of what’s above head height.
Here the handsome facade of the HSBC branch is partly obscured by the branches of an arbitrarily-placed tree; a shame, as there is a pleasing symmetry, with the central gable-topped vertical flanked by pilaster-adorned supporters.
To the right we can admire the slightly Byzantine feel of its neighbour; here the brickwork alternates terracotta and ochre like the defending walls of Constantinople.
The newer facing given to the India Jane shopfront manages to complement (and maybe compliment) the upper storeys in a way that’s neither too crass nor too overbearing.
And though storey levels don’t align, the round-headed arched windows and door at least echo the bank’s doors in scale.
To the left is a modern response to the bank which illustrates its good-neighbourly concerns. Vertical pilasters (concrete this time) and brickwork pick up the details of the earlier building; the scale and detailing of the windows is appropriate; and while, again, the storey horizontals are not aligned, the scale is similar enough.
Note too the way the finials of the bank’s roofline are picked up in the modern building, not in a slavish way but with a knowing, almost friendly, nod.
Lots of individuality then, but no delusions of grandeur.