An ode to minimalism is one way to describe Selfridges new project entitled No Noise. Another would perhaps be the ’marketing of a market free retail experience’. London’s luxury department store is enforcing a sense of calm delight in its shoppers by reconfiguring, for a limited time, the very enterprise of shopping.
This was primarily done by bringing to life an idea the company founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge, came up with back in 1909 – to create a space where shoppers start off by taking a deep, calming breath, leaving their cell phones at the door (this was particularly emphasized by Mr. Selfridge) and enter a silent room, allowing the over stimulated product hunter a break from the ills of, well, shopping. If the then rejuvenated prospective purchaser still feels the need to be cleansed of shopping impurities, so called Headspace pods will be placed all over the stores, offering short meditation practices and messages to help clear consumer clogged minds.
But the gold medal in this race goes to the ‘Quiet Shop’ initiative, where brand name products have been stripped of their eye catching and all too familiar logos in an effort to sort-of de-brand them. I say sort-of because they can still be easily identified by their packaging and particular visual elements, insinuating that complete and utter removal of brand identities was not what Selfridges was going for. It’s not surprising to see big names such as Heinz and Dr Dre Beats participating in this promotional experiment since they don’t need logos plastered on their products in order for consumers to know which brand they belong to. It would make me as a shopper even more aware of how brand aware I am. Wait, was that the point?
Selfridges presents No Noise as: “an initiative that goes beyond retail, the unique project invites you to celebrate the power of quiet, see the beauty in function and find calm among the crowds.”
By promoting and implementing values (quiet, calm, clear space) into the shopping experience that are in essence contrary to that experience, Selfridge amusingly and somewhat paradoxically validates the consumer mindset and way of life. The No Noise initiative will be up and running till the 17th of February, so if you feel like buying some gluten – free goodies at the “Food for Thought” pop-up bakery, listening to John Cage’s semi-silent composition 4’33″ on an Idle Sunday, or getting a bottle of Clinique moisturizer without having to laboriously scratch off the labeling afterward, stop by at your nearest Selfridges & co.