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‘No Noise’ at Selfridges

‘No Noise’ at Selfridges

It is 8.30am on a Thursday morning and I’m sitting on the hard, clean floor in Selfridges “watching” my breath. Sound strange? Maybe a little, but this is not some kind of protest against early morning opening hours or the stocking of unethical products. This is mass meditation.

There are more than 50 of us here all dressed in white t-shirts, sitting lovingly at the feet of our white-shirted chief Andy Puddicombe – the founder of Headspace – as he guides us through a 10-minute mindfulness exercise. This was just a one-off event in celebration of the launch of Selfridges’ eight-week “No Noise” Campaign. From 11 January to the end of February, in a self-confessed reaffirming of their commitment to “creating shopping experiences that go beyond retail”, Selfridges is encouraging customers to proactively seek out moments
of peace and tranquillity.

NO NOISE launches at SELFRIDGES  10.1.13

So what’s on offer for stressed-out shoppers as they dart between the lipsticks and the Louboutins? First there’s several dinky little meditation pods where shoppers can sit and listen to Puddicombe’s calming tones entering their ears through the suitably trendy ‘Beats’ by Dre headphones. The recording in each pod is geared towards whatever section the listener happens to be in; the topic of beauty and feeling beautiful in the beauty section pod, food and taste in the food hall pod, and technology and how and when to best use it in the technology section.

Then there’s also a curated “Quiet Shop”, offering customers a carefully selected range of products that celebrate the beauty of a minimalist aesthetic and focus on a product’s quality and function rather than its packaging or advertised image. But most importantly perhaps, No Noise sees the relaunch of the store’s “Silence Room”. This was first created back in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge (who was just a little bit ahead of his time) and offers shoppers somewhere to sit and be, well, silent – and off-line, since mobile phones and other communication devices must be left at the door.

NO NOISE launches at SELFRIDGES  10.1.13 - The Silence Room 4
The Silence Room at Selfridges

One of the most appealing things about No Noise is that, while it is doubtless rather innovative, it doesn’t have to interrupt your normal shopping experience if you don’t want it to. Instead, it’s just about offering people a chance to experience certain aspects of mindfulness practice in a new environment; giving people the opportunity to stop and breathe, and promoting calm as a catalyst for wellbeing. Now that’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to go shopping…