Inside department store Selfridges in London, the three-storey Louis Vuitton ‘townhouse’- a play between tradition and contemporary fashion – awaits. To create a dialogue between old and new, designers Curiosity played with the visual effects of soft and sharp focuses.
Walls are composed of layered fabrics that, reinforced by the effect of indirect lighting, create a sense of depth and appear to be out of focus. As a result, customers experience a certain disconnection from the physical space. Sharp focus points emerge as large glass panels, crated as pieces of art based on abstract landscape prints. Positioned in key places, the works guide customers through the boutique.
‘The first impressions of the store are those of simplicity and modernity,’ says design director Gwenael Nicolas. ‘As soon as you get closer to the walls, the surface starts to reveal its texture.’ The imperfection of the leather, the special vein running through the stone and the wood brushed with bronze that’s coated to emphasize its natural grain are all what Nicolas considers the ‘small effects that make the difference’.
The store’s eye-catcher is undoubtedly the double-helix glass lift that pierces through all three floors of the boutique. A rotation in the conveyor belt configures it into a moving spiral display system. Luxury items ascend and provide customers with a ‘head-tilting surprise’, says Nicolas. ‘In general, stores are very static – especially those in department stores. But here, we added an unexpected element that’s very site-specific. Customers leave with a smile.’