Selfridges design inspired by female psyche
The creation of a major new womenswear department – Selfridges’ newest and largest ever – has recently been completed.
Totalling 3,400 sq m, The Body Studio brings together women’s sun and swimwear, active wear, lounge wear, hosiery and designer styles.
According to project designers Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, founding partners of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office: “Selfridges’ primary objective was to create a fresh and vibrant space. These spaces are often designed in two extreme spectrums – one being the excessively ornate ‘boudoir type’ aesthetic and the other being a very utilitarian, almost ‘storage like’ display.
“Neri&Hu’s design aspires to transcend a mere shopping experience by creating a journey through the enigmatic moods of the woman—girlishly flirtatious, provocatively sensual, coquettishly demure, lavishly luxe, naturally calm, and confidently empowered. Selfridges love the new design.”
The Body Studio was created within a space formerly used as office accommodation, so the project required a full strip out of the interior.
The new interior is divided into seven key spaces – Activewear, Sun & Swim, Health Café, Nice & Loungewear, Hosiery, Designer and Everyday Luxe, with every space having a separate ambience.
The Activewear section is framed by a black steel structure referencing gyms and exterior sports courts. A sense of direction and pace is created through a series of illuminated rails and angled beech flooring. A landscape of raised plinths occupies the centre of the space.
Coloured marble, brass and whitewashed timber fixtures form the palate of natural materials defining the sun/swimwear department, where a 4.5M long stacked log table is used for accessory and feature display.
The concept for the Hemsley + Hemsley – Health Cafe is derived from the idea of bringing a sense of nature into the space that pays homage to Hemsley + Hemsley’s approach to good, natural food.
Here, a threshold structure of light oak and planting leads into a space wrapped from floor to ceiling in textured tiling. This is enhanced by a layer of hanging planting along the back wall, evoking a feeling of dining in a greenhouse or on a garden terrace.
According to Neri & Hu, “Brass joinery, customised chairs and bespoke oak tables create a sense of craft and detail. The long communal table, and ‘eat at bar’ counter create a social dining experience in an interior drawing on the concept of the raw and the natural.”
The Nice and Loungewear section features an internal courtyard, creating a sense of calm with soft glowing backlit paper screens wrapping the periphery of the space.
Bespoke terrazzo flooring, felt wall panelling and satin, copper and oak fixtures populate the space. A series of glowing volumes/lanterns framed by timber screens are suspended above the escalator void and are visible from the floors below.
A dark, intimate space lined in bamboo wall and floor panelling houses the hosiery department. Bespoke graphic rugs layer a sense of pattern in the space.
East meets west in the Designer, Luxe and Naughty section, where the lacquered blue wall panelling that encloses the space is punctuated by brass clad alcoves, lined with ink washed timber panels of Japanese landscapes.
Neri &Hu commented: “A forest of patinated brass fixtures disperse mid floor below the skylight. The chevron walnut flooring merges into a diamond parquetry, and steel and chrome fixtures (a ‘nod’ to Louise Bourgeois), create a ‘room within a room’ housing the most intimate of lingerie items.
“A patchwork of textures creates a calm but layered space as a backdrop to the core lingerie product. Bespoke brass lights and polished plaster fixtures create a sense of repetition and order.”
Luxury fitting rooms are located behind a secret panelled door, beyond which lies a walnut clad circular lounge leading to the fitting rooms.
The project was completed in April 2016. Most recently the project has been shortlisted for a Retail Week Interiors Award 2016.