English department store Selfridges has something new to offer their costumers. Their new No Noise shop is a noise free shopping experience. Apparently, when Selfridges opened their doors in 1909 they had a built in silence room where costumers could escape all the noise from outside and relax. Over the years, this room became redundant. Now, in 2013, Selfridges has brought this room back to its store. As they say: “We need it now more than ever.”
But why do we need to escape noise? Well, as Selfridges says: “As we become increasingly bombarded with information and stimulation, the world is becoming a noisier place. In an initiative that goes beyond retail, we invite you to celebrate the power of quiet, see the beauty in function and find calm among the crowds.”
How to do that? Well, you can follow lectures on cloud spotting and low effort parenting. Meditation experts Headspace give out tips and tricks to help you deal with stress related to commuting and for instance your relationships with your loved ones. There is a performance of the famous silent piece by John Cage, 4’33”. And you can shop, of course. Please, do shop.
Selfridges asked several brand to offer products without their logo on it. This resulted in products that are still instantly recognizable, even without their brand names. And because these products were made in small batches, they immediately became collector’s items that sold out in no time.
I like the idea of making people aware of all the noise that surrounds us and how it affects us. I even think this is vital for the creation of a sustainable world. But I find it a shame that Selfridges could not resist filling a shop with products that were created to have people run into their store. These bottles of Marmite and creams from La Mer are not silent simply because their logo is removed, instead, they scream to us. They yell: “buy me while you still can! Make yourself feel special by purchasing something that is special!” To me, that is the opposite of being silent. To me, this is just another example of a brand using something that we all need for a better world, simply to better themselves.
I am curious to hear what you think. Do you like this initiative and think it will actually make people appreciate the silence more? Or is the retail aspect of it all putting you off a bit like it does for me?