Published on February 23, 2013 | by Teral Atilan1
It’s oh so quiet…Though shopping is a favorite pastime and obsession for many – there is no doubt that it can be stressful.
London’s West End is notoriously busy all year round so we could not have been happier when we heard one of the most luxurious stores on Oxford Street – Selfridges – has opened a silent room.
A silence room is a place of relaxation where shoppers can be kept out of the hustle and bustle of the busy streets and hectic department stores.
You also have to leave your phone in a locker upon entering the room, so goodbye Whatsapp group chat – we are having a much needed break.
Shops are now – more than ever – in constant competition to grab our attention, with loud music, large signs that scream ‘SALE’ and over friendly sales assistants.
So, there has never been a better time to take a break from it all, there is nothing better than some much needed quiet time after a busy day on Oxford Street.
Silence and relaxation
Selfridges have started a No Noise campaign – which runs through February – in an attempt to reduce the audio and visual interference that Londoners endure everyday. The campaign is based on the lower ground level in Londons Selfridges store.
According to their website, the founder – Harry Gordon Selfridge came up with the idea when the store first opened in 1909 and he furnished the room with only soft fabrics to create a calming atmosphere.
The silence room was nicknamed ‘the pub’ by gentlemen as they left their wives to shop. His vision was to create a room where busy shoppers could “retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy.”
It was a great way to keep customers in the store for longer and to boost sales. Because of its original success, Selfridges have recreated this sanctuary for the current, busy generation.
Architect Alex Cochrane designed the new Silence Room. The reincarnation of the room has an insulated inner-sanctum, shielded from the noise and traffic of the store. Also dotted throughout the store are mini headspace pods, where customers can tune into a meditation session via built-in headsets or you can also experience this inner peace at home at nonoise.selfridges.com.
Our writer Teral Atilan visited the silent room…
Upon hearing about the room I decided to check it out, and after a couple of rounds of the store, my legs felt like they were about to collapse and I definitely needed to relax. Usually at this point I would just leave the store and grab a bite to eat, or simply return home.
The Silence Room, however, was a different type of escape from the outside world. On entering it I felt like I was no longer in London. I left behind the stuffy train I arrived on, my fellow shoppers and my mobile. It felt to me like entering a church or mosque.
After a few minutes of relaxing I started to feel uncomfortable, the silence became almost eerie; no background noise – no nothing.
“It felt to me like entering a church or mosque.”
Being someone who is always busy running around and socialising, it felt strange to lock myself out of the hectic world that I am so familiar with, and to have nothing to entertain myself with but my thoughts.
It was a nice, and much needed half an hour break from the rush– which Londoners never seem to get. After being in the room I felt like I should go home to do some yoga to help enhance my calm. But considering I live in a house of five people – there is not much chance of that happening.
Considering the concept, I started to think that it was a shame that we have to enter a silence room in order to leave behind the troubles and stress of everyday life.
The small amount of time I spent in the room was the only time for a long while that I have had to myself, to completely shut everything out, and it felt great.