department store in the middle of their winter sale might seem an unlikely
place to find some peace and quiet, but the new No
Noise initiative at Selfridges on Oxford Street has introduced an unexpected element
of calm to the bustling retail space.
which launched last week and finishes on 28 February, is the store's attempt to turn
down the white noise on modern living through meditation, silence and an
awareness of loud branding.
Begin by taking a
10-minute time out from shopping at one of the 11 cloud-like pods placed
randomly around the store, which were launched in collaboration with Andy Puddicombe, a former
Buddhist monk and creator of modern meditation enterprise Headspace. Sit on a stool, put on a pair
of headphones and – depending on which part of the store you find yourself in –
listen to a short meditation on topics like mindful eating (in the food hall),
refreshing your relationship (in gifts) or fragrance appreciation (in beauty).
celebration of silence continues at the Quiet Shop on the ground floor, where
you'll find exclusive de-branded versions of recognisable products, including
pots of Marmite, bottles of Heinz tomato ketchup, Creme de la Mer face cream and
Levis red label jeans. Each of these collectables is exactly the same as the
original, just minus the logo for some visual peace and quiet. Also being sold
in the curated space are men's and women's clothes and accessories by
minimalist ready-to-wear designers like Jil
Sander, Acne and Maison Martin Margiela, whose products
are logo- and fuss-free.
Ready to really
chill out now? Head to the Silence Room, an insulated sanctuary in the store’s basement,
to tune out the information, audio and visual overload we all face on a daily
basis. Leave your shoes, phone, camera and any other electronics outside and
enter the Zen-like space. Close your
eyes, take a nap, say a prayer, read a book and stay as long as you like in the
soundproof and low light room, which seems miles away from the chaos of the
West End neighbourhood outside.
The Silence Room
is a reincarnation of a similar space installed by founder Harry Gordon
Selfridge in 1909, who intended his quiet space on the fourth floor to be an area
where men could wait for their wives while they shopped. The brash American
founder -- who is currently having his moment in the spotlight thanks to Mr Selfridge, a TV show based
on his life, knew even then that silence is golden. He would have been proud
that given the price of gold today, silence is now on sale at Selfridges.
Malika Dalamal is
the London Localite for BBC Travel