No Logos and no Noise allowed at UK Department Store

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

London's most fashionable department store, Selfridges, has taken the label off some of the western world's most recognizable items. It's an anti-design statement from a shop that specializes in flogging design. And it has proven to be an eye-opener.

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

How does ketchup look when it doesn't have the Heinz label? Ditto for the baked beans. And are they still desirable? .

Selfridges' has launched a (limited) No Noise campaign which urges customers to "to celebrate the power of quiet, see the beauty in function and find calm among the crowds."

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

Other brands participating include beats by Dre heaphones and Levis 501 as well as some seriously minimalist clothing.

Available in limited quantities only, the brands are saying that the logo of their product is so well designed that customers will recognize them without the brand name. They seem to have a point, since the beans and ketchup are sold out, only the label-less Marmite and over-priced Creme de la Mer remain.

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

In the street window: a homage to the ubiquitous Selfridges' bag: without its logo.

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

They have also re-introduced the Silence Room. Amazingly, when the store first opened in 1909 there was a Silence Room where busy shoppers could "retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy". It was a place for patient husbands to wait for their wives.

It's back, but now it's a place to escape the noise and chaos of a big busy city like London. Up-dated by Alex Cochrane Architects, it's an insulated inner-sanctum, shielded from the noise and human traffic of the store. No shoes, mobile phones or iphones allowed, although there were some cheaters...

You enter through a long winding low-lit corridor. Once inside, the walls, floor, ceiling and seats are made of panels of grey felt--illuminated from below by lemon LEDs--with benches upholstered in the same felt lining the perimeter. The effect is modern monastic. It is a lovely and peaceful place to lie down and escape the sales for a few minutes.

Tags: Architecture | Conspicuous Consumption | Designers | London