Sustainable spaces and Selfridges
From concept to reality
Shortly after we revealed our Next Generation collection, Selfridges invited us to participate in their own sustainable retail initiative, Project Earth, launched on Monday.
We’ve worked with Selfridges for several years and always admired them for their leadership in innovating the retail experience. A couple of years ago they travelled to meet us in Copenhagen when we revealed our original pop-up concept store on Værnedamsvej in Vesterbro, and discussions about experiential space in London have been ongoing ever since.
With our Next Generation and their Project Earth the timing – pandemics aside – couldn’t be better. But for this space, the challenge was to create a concept that lived up to our mutual ambitions to leave a lighter footprint. Christine, our R&D manager, had this to say about the process of translating concept into physical reality inside one of the world’s greatest stores:
Our R&D manager, Christine, in the Skandinavisk space at Selfridges London
“Our idea was to bring the Scandinavian forests to London, and our starting point was to use as many natural or sustainable materials as possible, and then design them in a way that could be reused time and again. Because we’ve always felt uncomfortable about the material waste generated at trade shows and temporary retail spaces, we really challenged all materials and processes every step of the way for the Selfridges space.
We had originally planned to build the structure out of Swedish fir but soon noted this softwood would not provide the durability we were looking for, so we switched to Swedish oak, a hardwood that was FSC-certified and, while heavy, will last a lifetime. With the help of Spacon & X, a Copenhagen-based spatial design and architecture studio, we created three modules – shelving; counter; feature – all of which could be placed, stacked or rotated without restriction and which, due to their irregular shapes, resulted in a more edgy, less formal visual impression. We then chose to avoid treating the wood to better expose the beauty of its irregularities, reduce material use, and so we can respond to damage simply by sanding the affected area, rather than having to retreat the entire wood surface.
Test installation at our Copenhagen showroom.
The underfloor, a FSC-certified plywood, lies beneath a bio-based linoleum of linseed and wood flour, almost half of which is already recycled, with a backing of jute fibre and coated with ecologically-friendly colour pigments to create the distinctive green floor surface. The linoleum is Swan-labelled, recyclable or, more importantly, reusable simply by separating each tile and washing with water or organic soaps for future use.
Our feature branches were collected from Danish ground, either fallen after the spring storms or from the leftovers of the tree pruning conducted by the local councils. We then left this wood to dry for 6 months indoors, but you can still see the yellow lichens on the feature branch. The ivy that wraps itself around the branches was sourced both from Denmark and – I have to admit – the Kent garden of our UK colleague, Michelle!”
Our concept space at Selfridges London is on the Lower Ground floor, just take the escalator across from Prada’s Re-Nylon installation at the front of the store. We will be in place for the duration of Selfridges’ Project Earth program, and will announce an exclusive new product collection launch later this autumn. So watch this space. And that space.
Visit Selfridges to discover exciting design innovations, retail concepts and thought-provoking ideas in sustainability, as they launch a series of new commitments set to radically change their business with the launch of Project Earth. Read more about it here.
11 hours and 40 seconds later… and it’s up!
Selfridges & Co
400 Oxford Street