The Silence Room at Selfridges
by Alex Cochrane Architects

| 21 comments
 

Alex Cochrane Architects has created a space for shoppers at London department store Selfridges to find peace and quiet amid the bustling emporium (+ slideshow).

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

London studio Alex Cochrane Architects built the space on the lower ground floor of the Selfridges as their interpretation of a previous silence room created by the store's founder when it first opened in 1909.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

"Gordon Selfridge did a Silence Room many years ago, and sadly there're no records of what that room looked like so we did our own version of what the Silence Room might be," Alex Cochrane told Dezeen.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

Next to a major thoroughfare, adjacent to a cafe and flanked by two lifts, the space is not intended to be completely silent but rather encourage visitors to lower their voices and take time to unwind.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

"Our take from the beginning was that there was always going to be background noise and we really wanted to create a room that people can feel silent in regardless of that," said Cochrane.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

After removing their shoes, visitors are channeled into a dark corridor with light bulbs hung in each corner to guide them around the back of the rectangular box and through a gap in the wall.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

Cream felt covering the walls, floor and seats helps to insulate some of the sound and provide comfortable surfaces to relax on once inside.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

"We’ve seen people sleeping there, meditating there. One person was seen praying there," Cochrane said.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

A modular bench finished in oak veneer wraps around the edge of the room, becoming deeper at the shorter ends of the room to provide extra space to lie down.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

LED lighting hidden at floor level and behind the seating creates an ambient glow.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

Services and ductwork on the ceiling remain exposed but painted black as a subtle reminder of the nature of the building.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

"Similar to the background noise, we wanted to keep the visual noise from the ceiling. We wanted it to serve as a reminder of being in a commercial institution such as Selfridges," Cochrane explained.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

The Silence Room was created for the store's No Noise campaign, which also includes the sale of limited edition products with no brand names.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

Alex Cochrane Architects also designed the Men's Designer Space at Selfridges and we've also featured a renovated Victorian boathouse by the studio.

The Silence Room at Selfridges by Alex Cochrane Architects

Photography is by Andrew Meredith.

See all our stories about design at Selfridges »

  • Ben

    It looks good with a sole model with her feet on the wall, but what’ll it be like when it’s full of shoppers with their plastic bags and ringing mobiles?

    • omnicrom

      People have to leave most of their belongings in lockers before they enter, especially phones, iPads, laptops etc.

  • bonsaiman

    As if people know how to keep their mouths shut.

  • Albariño

    The layout isn’t really conducive to self reflection – going in there you’ll be so aware of everyone else within such close quiet quarters you’ll barely be able to think. With an open centre your vision is focused towards the centre and people on the other side – the exact opposite of what the space seeks to achieve. Bit of a missed opportunity to be inventive with the space.

  • Jane

    Beautiful. I really like this. Credit to a department store for even bothering to agree to this. They could have sold merchandise there instead.

    • Hayden

      Yes! Sell them the poison and remedy. Smart.

  • Nicole

    I dropped in there last week and I must say it was beautifully done. I really liked the black corridors and the small bulbs in the corners. The suspense before walking into the silence room was great. Once I got there I felt very rested indeed. All department stores should have one.

  • Kris

    Let’s not turn this into the Daily Mail and just applaud a brilliantly executed idea. Bellissimo.

  • Hitlur

    I wonder how they got kstew to do some modeling for the room.

  • Luca

    Very nice and calming, even though we can hear the clatter of dishes coming from the restaurant outside. The design and details are very sobering. Worth the visit.

  • Tyler

    Apparently, no phones or bags are allowed. They would certainly ruin the vibe of this finely detailed room. Bellissimo indeed.

  • zebra

    I went, I saw and I slept. It worked for me. They should keep it.

  • donkey

    Awesome! Every shopping centre/hell on earth should be forced to have a chill-out room.

  • http://twitter.com/PouyaMota @PouyaMota

    Surprised a department store would even consider losing valuable income to go ahead with this but I guess Mr Selfridge paved the way for innovative ideas.

  • iag

    Looks good, I must check it out. However, that’s a lot of pictures telling pretty much the same thing.

  • Josh V

    I don’t understand why they felt the need to remind people that they’re in a department store by leaving the ceiling exposed. Isn’t the point to escape the department store? I like the idea and it looks very well executed except for the ceiling.

  • Prole

    This is bascially James Turrell's Deer Shelter Space at Yorkshire Sculpture Park pasted into a luxury department store. A sad indictment of our consumerist society.
    http://bipsbox.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/ysp-tu

  • rsantosfernandes

    Not so silent, that ceiling!

  • Robert J

    The exposed services put the Silence Room in context. The juxtapositioning works rather well, me thinks.

  • Aga

    For tranquility, contemplation and rest one needs a sacrum like atmosphere, perhaps with nature, water or with experience-for-one space. I doubt the sophisticated lift-like space that will eventually get busy and perhaps not even noisy, though surely uncomfortable and claustrophobic, will do its job. It takes more than pretty finish and careful detailing to offer a relaxing space. The idea is great, the design not so much though.

  • James

    This is wonderful.

    All stores should have a silence room.