It’s a year full of rich ideas for British king of design Tom Dixon. After successful co-brandings with chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, Greenwich peninsula or the new Mondrian Hotel in London, he just came up with a new concept, adapting his vision and talent to the retail industry this time. Taking place right between the London Fashion Week, the London Design Festival, the BFI London Film Festival and the Frieze art fair and located in the Old Selfridges Hotel for no more than a month, this pop-up space, in partnership with Wallpaper*, aims to rethink, reshape the idea of shopping, opening a window to tomorrow’s department stores.
First impressions are contradictory, catching the wanderer’s attention and arousing his curiosity at first sight: dark but sparkling, down-to-heart but surreal. All the walls are covered with simple pieces of aluminium, mixed with the raw, NY loft style concrete that the artist has always enjoyed working with. With such an atmosphere, all our senses are awake and ready to live the experience. And the careful choice of goods and services’ brands only makes it better. From technology to food or art, everything we need is gathered there.
On arrival, a proud partnership with luxury car brand Aston Martin welcomes the visitors. With a mini-exhibition on the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship and one of the top sport models exhibited, it was an ingenious and unconventional way for Aston Martin to reinforce its brand image, claiming innovation, technology, design, luxury, savoir-faire.
Once upstairs, a succession of conceptual corners teases all ours senses. It feels like losing the notion of space, being at the heart of the action at every little corner. Hand made black and white charcoal, perfume, sunglasses, coffee, working space, design lamps, clothes, all the brands match each other and offer a unique shopping experience.
To quote Tom Dixon himself, “the high streets are fighting a losing battle against the shift to online shopping, while eyewatering rents for prime locations squeeze traditional stores even further. It is time to radically rethink how these spaces can become relevant again in a digitally-defined future”. Indeed, to cope with this upcoming threat of increasing online shopping and reduction of possibilities for physical shopping experience, the visionary designer came up with a prototype that will allow people to work, eat, play, shop, get cultured , party, and express themselves and their emotion under a same roof. A gold mine for the brands represented within such a space, as the store itself plays the role of a communication support to help brands implementing a good, old marketing method, the AIDA strategy (grab the Attention, build Interest, create Desire, generate Action). Andy Warhol already planned it 40 years ago, “all department stores will become museum (cabinet of cultural curiosities) and all museums will become department store”… And if we anticipate the future and its technologies, Dixon certainly offers a much deeper experiment than immersing customers in a virtual shop through 3D lenses.
Multiplex gathering an important yet eclectic crowd off Oxford street in London, we can only wonder when such a “concept” store will open its doors for real. While awaiting, we will still be able to enjoy the brand new Tom Dixon showroom opening in November in New York City.