No Noise | Katie Paterson
Selfridges, London, UK, 2013

Typically, a visit to Selfridges is an assault (albeit a pleasurable one) on the senses: a blast of Violet Blonde at the Tom Ford beauty counter, the caress of a python-skinned Mulberry bag, the saccharine shock of a Lola’s cupcake in the food hall… This winter, however, the elite London department store is looking to change all that with the launch of No Noise, a project produced in conjunction with Headspace which has the shopping behemoth trying to tune out those post-holiday distractions and transform itself into a sanctuary. It sounds radical, but it’s not necessarily new.

“The No Noise campaign will see the relaunch of The Silence Room, first created by the store’s visionary founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge, in 1909,” a Selfridges spokesperson told exclusively. “It represents a fresh take on the original model but with the same purpose: providing an oasis of quiet for those eager to take a moment to pause and switch off. This year, we welcome customers on a counter-intuitive retail journey and urge them to proactively seek out moments of peace and tranquility in a world that bombards us with information and stimulation.”

A dangling pair of de-branded Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, appropriately enough, offered more sensory deprivation as they blocked out all traces of noise. One exception to the hushed ambiance? An installation by artist Katie Paterson which sends a blast of 3,216 tiny pieces of paper confetti shooting through the air each day between noon and 12:30pm.