Selfridges eyes up range of designers for flagship revamp

Selfridges is turning up the heat at its flagship Oxford Street store in London this week and will draft in a range of designers to revitalise its retail environments.

Under plans to invigorate customers’ shopping experience – and keep a tighter rein on the Selfridges brand and identity – the company has selected retail design group and architect Hosker Moore Kent Melia to assess the design of the entire store. The group has been given a remit to ‘rediscover and restore the building fabric and architecture across all floors’, with the aim of improving orientation and raising a sense of ‘expectation and inspiration’ for shoppers.

‘We are looking at the architecture of the whole store as part of a long-term vision – say five to ten years,’ says HMKM director Christian Papa. ‘It will take in all elements, including how customers circulate around the shop, conservation issues relating to the Grade II-listed elements of the store and the finishes and colour palettes we might use on areas such as walkways.’

This creative vision is being put in place by Selfridges creative director Alannah Weston – daughter of store owner Galen Weston – who joined the company in May 2004.

The long-term architectural plan for the store will result in the redesign of a number of its departments, although a major £300m redevelopment scheme was shelved last year (DW 2 December 2004). External interior designers, graphic designers and architects will be brought in by Weston to make the changes. ‘We are continuing to improve our customer experience and there are lots of plans on the table,’ says Weston, who declines to reveal specific details.

HMKM has also developed a set of architectural and brand principles that Selfridges will use in discussions with concessions brands. These principles aim to prevent the Selfridges identity from being crowded out by concessions competing against each other.

‘There was a period when perhaps it wasn’t clear where and how brands sit alongside Selfridges’ [own]. The brands would often try to outdo each other,’ says Papa.

Next month, Selfridges will launch its redesigned website, www.selfridges.com, created by London interactive design group All Of Us. The site (pictured) draws on the editorial style of fashion and lifestyle glossy magazines.

SELFRIDGES BACKGROUND

• Privately owned: acquired by the Weston family in May 2003 for £628m

• Owns four UK business stores: London, Birmingham and two in Manchester

• Previously appointed Ron Arad, Future Systems and Adjaye Associates

• Former chief executive Vittorio Radice left to join Marks & Spencer in March 2003

• Former creative director, Susanne Tide-Frater, joined Harrods in September 2004

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