By Fiona Ma
with contributions from Samantha Conti
 on May 25, 2018
Phyllis by Holly Hendry for the Art Block at Selfridges

LONDON – It’s been a major month for Selfridges, which has opened a new, art-filled entrance on London’s Duke Street and scooped the Best Department Store in the World prize at the Global Department Store Summit, which wraps up this week.

This is the fourth time Selfridges has won the department store award, and it will retain the title until 2020, when the next summit takes place. Selfridges was voted Best Department Store in the World in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In 2016 it scooped World’s Best Sustainability Campaign by a Department Store at the Global Department Store Summit that year.

“This award is a huge honor and perfectly timed, as we near the completion of our transformation program,” said Anne Pitcher, managing director of the store. She accepted the award during a gala dinner at the V&A Museum. The two-day summit, a biennial conference for the retail community, ends Friday.

Through its transformation program, Selfridges is aiming to build a stronger relationship with shoppers and with the Oxford Street neighborhood where the store is located. Hand-in-hand with that civic-minded goal, the company has been putting the finishing touches on its new accessories hall, which will be completed at the end of this year.

Once finished, the hall will span 60,000 square feet and make up one-third of Selfridges’ ground floor, and one-tenth of the 600,000-square-foot Oxford Street flagship.

Phase three of the project opened last week and features the first Western outpost of Tokyo’s Aoyama Flower Market and a new space for the French accessories house Moynat. The architect, Gwenael Nicolas, created the Moynat space, which sells bags including the Réjane, the Mini Gabrielle and a line of leather marquetry accessories featuring Bleriot planes and pops of Selfridges’ signature yellow.

The centerpiece of phase three is the new entrance to Selfridges on Duke Street, which has a dedicated space for contemporary art via a new partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The two partners will co-curate Art Block, a permanent destination for contemporary sculptures within the store. The block is a marble and steel monolith designed by David Chipperfield as part of his commission to create Selfridges’ accessories hall. It has been designed to showcase large pieces of contemporary art that can weigh up to three and a-half tons.

Currently a sculpture called “Phyllis,” by the artist Holly Hendry, is on display. The sculpture takes its name from one of the digging machines used in the London Crossrail project, a major public project that will see the creation of a new London Underground line and a railway that runs east-west across the British capital and its neighboring counties.

Selfridges is also sponsoring the art that will go into the new Bond Street station for Crossrail. Its part of a civic project that saw the store plant trees and commission a marble public water fountain as part of its ongoing Project Ocean initiative for a plastic-free London.