Sunday, 20 January 2013

Selfridges' No Noise Initiative: Silence and Shopping

Here's one January detox without the need for green juices and extreme gym attendance: the No Noise initiative from Selfridges takes things back to basics with no strained conversation, social media updates or constant texting and emailing: just pure silence at its Oxford Street base. The Silence Room, lined in white felt with dark corridors and sparse lighting, is the star of the show and is a real oasis. Find it in the Ultralounge on the Lower Ground floor.

Selfridges No Noise: Silence Room - photo by Andrew Meredith
The Silent Room, designed by Alex Cochrane Architects. Image by Andrew Meredith, via Dezeen.

As well as providing that amazing Silence Room, which was actually part of the original Selfridges concept in 1909, the department store has teamed up with Headspace, a meditation organisation, to create tips for different situations and bring a little calm into your life (which should also combat the January blues, and help you stay sane until payday). Additionally there are self-improvement workshops from the Idler Academy, teaching you how to de-clutter your life through cloud-spotting or looking at the moon. It might sound like hippy rubbish, but wouldn't most of us honestly like a little more peace and quiet now and again?

Some of the upcoming talks by the Idler Academy.
Image via the Selfridges website.

Of course, you are in a retail environment, so there is a retail concept to try: the Quiet Shop. This is where you can pick up recognisable items without their brand names, though obviously you'll know major labels at fifty paces due to their familiar shapes and the market niche they occupy. One of my favourites is the No Noise Marmite.  

Selfridges No Noise: The Quiet Shop with Creme de la Mer and Marmite
 Creme de la Mer and Marmite are two of the products on offer at the Quiet Shop.
Image via the Selfridges website.

I'm really glad that this initiative has been launched; it's something really refreshing and a bit daring in terms of retail - suggesting that branding should be removed and that social media should be ignored for more than two seconds. It's clear that all of us could benefit from a little more idling and silence.

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