Thursday, 8:51am
12 January 2012

Wordy shopping ’hood

Balls, books, a rollercoaster … and tinned fear in Selfridges’ ‘concept store’

If the January sales haven’t lured you to London’s Oxford Street, perhaps a new installation at Selfridges might just reel you in, writes John Ridpath. ‘Words, words,

words’ is the theme of a new store-wide initiative that centres on four dramatic window displays art-directed by It’s Nice That, as well as a word-obsessed concept store. Running from 12 January until 1 March, a busy timetable of events has been planned – from handwriting analysis sessions and Latin masterclasses to literary discussions and storytelling workshops.



‘The Word-A-Coaster’ (above), produced in collaboration with Stewdio, has taken over the the store’s corner window at Oxford Street and Orchard Street. Participants pull a lever to activate a giant rollercoaster, and duly receive a transparent plastic ball from a sea of 30,000. Each contains a personalised New Year fortune reading (digitally printed by Pureprint) centred around a bold adjective set in one of five typefaces. According to my card (7763/30,000), 2012 is going to be ‘toasty’ (below).

Toasty 3


Words installation in Selfridges window

Three additional windows running along the western side of the department store feature dramatic word sculptures, produced by designers in collaboration with It’s Nice That: a scaffold ‘words’ (Ben Long, top), a cardboard ‘words’ (Giles Miller, above), and a ‘words’ built from oversized objects (Chrissie Macdonald, below).


And what does a concept store based on words actually stock? Amongst the eclectic inventory are iPads and eReaders, totebags and tea-towels, jewellery constructed from Scrabble pieces, Tinned Fear from the Ministry of Stories, books (from Eric Gill: The Inscriptions to The Redstone Book of the Eye), and back issues of It’s Nice That. Plus an ‘R’ shaped cabinet (below), designed by LCC students Jack R. Gardiner & Netta Peltola.

‘R’ cabinet in Selfridges concept store, ‘Words, Words, Words’


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