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The brands stripped bare

Selfridges’ eight-week transformation into a temple of silence

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The brands stripped bare

January 03 2013
Beatrice Hodgkin

Silence is golden. Or so they say. It is therefore delightfully apt that the big yellow (nay, golden) store, Selfridges, is relaunching its Silence Room, first created in 1909, in partnership with meditation practitioner Headspace. The room is part of a “counter-intuitive retail experience” called No Noise. The no-shoes, mobile-phone-free zone will be an oasis of calm and a place for guided meditation. Here, too, shouty branding will be stripped away, with companies removing their logos in celebration of a minimalist aesthetic.

Exclusive limited editions of de-branded items will be available to buy, including 100 pots of Crème de la Mer (first picture, £190) and 300 Beats by Dre headphones (£280), alongside 90 125ml jars of Clinique moisturiser (£29.50) and 50 Levi’s 501 jeans (£115). There will also be everyday items, including pots of Marmite (£4.99) and 500 tins of Heinz baked beans (£1.99) and ketchup bottles (£2.99) – all in second picture.

It’s strange to see these iconic designs partially stripped of their identities, but, for the most part, semi-nakedness adds a serenity that fits well with the peaceful ethos the Oxford Street store is championing. And, in their vulnerable yet striking way, they make eccentrically appealing curios for collectors.

The storefront heralds its inner cache of curiosities with four windows designed by Scottish conceptual artist Katie Paterson, who is concurrently taking part in the Hayward Gallery’s first exhibition of the year, Light Show.

“We are inviting customers to find a moment of peace in a world where we are bombarded by a cacophony of information and stimulation,” says Alannah Weston, creative director of Selfridges, of the eight-week initiative. With mass meditation events, nutrition clinics and juice clubs in the food halls, plus a series of inner calm talks and workshops lead by The Idler Academy, this seems just the ticket to counterbalance the barrage of festive noise still ringing in the ears.

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Shopping, Selfridges