FLIPPING OUT: Selfridges’ Radical Luxury campaign is moving forward with a multisensory exhibition called The Flipside, which opens Thursday and features conceptual creations from names including Google Pixel 2, Louis Vuitton and the mixology expert Mr Lyan.
The free-of-charge show is being held at the Old Selfridges Hotel, near the Oxford Street store, and runs through May 20. Selfridges asked the seven brands taking part (they also include Loewe, Thom Browne New York, Gareth Pugh and Byredo) to pinpoint what true luxury is right now, or will be in the future.
The brands responded with installations that were thought-provoking: Loewe gathered piles of old, discarded household appliances and placed them next to lush sprouting plants. “The future is green,” says Loewe. Gareth Pugh responded with an arty film of him and his mother taking a meditative walk on a blustery beach in northeastern England. The aim was to create a space “where time dilates, prompting an awareness of being.”
Louis Vuitton focused on travel and luxury as an experience, and created a series of small islands, some like deserts, others like underwater gardens. Mr Lyan, the celebrity bartender whose real name is Ryan Chetiyawardana, will be mixing one-off cocktails for visitors, based on a series of personal sensory tests, while Google Pixel 2 has created an interactive space where visitors can create a unique, colorful frame, and put a selfie inside it.
Byredo is looking at clean drinking water as the luxury of the future, while Thom Browne examines the act of creation, imagination and dreams. The show ends with visitors walking onto a giant sundial, signaling the luxury of all luxuries: Time.
The space itself is dark and slightly spooky — a little like The Upside Down from “Stranger Things,” but cool and glossy and minus the scary monsters. Visitors enter through a moon-shaped door that spins on an axis, and follow an elevated path that leads them from one brand “island” to another.
There is also a room that’s filled with round mirrors and meant for contemplation, while an ambient scent has been created by Le Labo. In addition, Google Pixel 2 smartphone devices will be loaned to guests to record their journey through the show. Google will also be offering visitors the opportunity to book free tours with photographers such as Alistair Guy and Shezimanezi.
In the coming weeks, Selfridges is planning special events such as contemporary dance performances and panel talks about the meaning of luxury.
Next up for the retailer is the opening of the third and final phase of its massive accessories hall project in mid-May. The store plans to host a Japanese flower market, create a contemporary art destination and introduce a major eyewear space that will be unveiled later this year.