Detox is word-dropped at the beginning of every new year when the excesses of December quite literally consume our body and mind. Earlier in the week I took refuge in Selfridges from the delayed festive weather to explore how London's luxury mecca was coping with its very own detox. After the adrenaline-fuelled sales period, the Oxford Street landmark has taken a leaf out of its founder's notebook - Mr Harry Gordon Selfridge created a Silence Room in 1909 for shoppers to "retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy". This remarkable foresight is as relevant today in an age of instantaneous 24/7 commercial information and stimulation that is unfortunately not exclusive to Christmas but right across the other 364 days of the year.
And so to the launch of No Noise - conceived by Alannah Weston, Creative Director, the campaign is directly inspired by Mr Selfridge's quiet concept and celebrates the beauty of function through a number of in-store projects free from the harshness of promotion that we are now so accustomed to.
From the mellow felt-lined meditation pods dotted around the store, created by Headspace, to The Quiet Shop which showcases a curated collection of minimal items as well as a run of limited edition de-branded products that Weston describes as "iconic...needing no introduction". This includes the department store's equally iconic yellow shopping bags which have been rid of their black text and emphasise the power of brand recognition and the breakdown of unnecessary design that floods everyday life.
mellow yellow at Selfridges
The Quiet Shop concept space, located in The Wonder Room on the ground floor, has staged many exciting displays over the years (White Wonders, December 2011), and its subtle staging for No Noise is just as seductive as its previous guises. Acne, Jil Sander and Caran D'Ache are a number of brands that span The Quiet Edit and join Crème de la Mer, Heinz and Marmite who have exclusively de-branded their products from logos and text to create a silent, yet symbolic, installation of colour, form and utility in the shop space.
No Noise Marmite 250g
No Noise Heinz Baked Beans 415g
No Noise Heinz Tomato Ketchup 342ml
No Noise Caran D'Ache Classic 844 Mechanical Pencil
No Noise Crème de la Mer Moisturising Cream 60ml
As with all concept projects, the window space that surrounds The Quiet Shop has been transformed into a gallery. In collaboration with the Hayward Gallery four works by London-based artist Katie Paterson have been installed on street level and present her mixed media practice that includes the work 100 Billion Suns - a confetti canon which is set off everyday at 12pm.
However for the ultimate No Noise experience The Silence Room, located in the basement, has had a twenty-first century makeover by Alex Cochrane Architects and is a wonderfully serene space, isolated from noise and retail urge and would no doubt have made Harry Gordon Selfridge quietly content.
You can escape the noise at Selfridges London until 28th February 2012 - for more information about the No Noise campaign including in-store events click here.
Images courtesy of Selfridges.
Images courtesy of Selfridges.