Byredo founder Ben Gorham on channeling Soho’s creative energy for first London flagship

Byredo founder Ben Gorham on channeling Soho’s creative energy for first London flagship

‘London was the very top of our location list for quite a few years – we’ve been building a following in this diverse and progressive city,’ Byredo founder Ben Gorham explains ahead of the launch of the brand’s first flagship location in the heart of Soho last night (Sunday 16 September). ‘There’s a strong arts, fashion and music scene. It checks all the boxes.’

Though London was a dead cert (following Byredo flagships in Stockholm and New York) which district the new store would be located in was up for debate. ‘I pretty much looked all over the capial,’ Gorham continues. ‘I looked at the traditional luxury streets – but I didn’t feel like they really related to, or reflected, Byredo. Then I remembered Soho, which is maybe not where most people thought we’d put it, but it’s this amazing, buzzing place where I hung out ten years ago. I still feel like Soho is where young creatives work, think and move.’

Byredo London

The creative area reflects the new store’s ethos; there’s a dedicated space for displaying art, and plenty of seating to encourage relaxed conversation and a convivial shopping experience. ‘I always imagine retail to be accessible and warm, as an emotion rather than a tonality’, Gorham contiues. ‘I wanted to present a different offering to what’s found in our department stores, with a narrative and dialogue with our clients and customers. This is a place that you can come and learn about things, without feeling the pressure to buy, while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the larger crowd. It’s a cliché, but I want it to feel like we’re inviting people into our home.’

The design of the store comes courtesy of Gorham, alongside his 11 year-collaborator (and friend), Swedish interior design firm Halleröd. ‘I’ve been working with Christian [Halleröd] since I started – he’s like the rational part of my brain. He’s great when it comes to proportion, and he’s a great filter and funnel.’

Like Byredo’s origin city Stockholm, London has long, grey overcast seasons, ‘so we wanted the shop to pop out,’ Gorham says of the decision to paint the five storey facade white. Inside, the once-office building has been ‘completely gutted’. A material palette of anodised aluminium, industrial elements, wood and concrete offers a calming, unintrusive backdrop to the products. ‘Whether its handbags, perfume, packaging or eyewear, I always design objects with their retail environment in mind,’ Gorham reveals. ‘I hope the London store will offer a unique experience that’s tightly tied to the origin of what we’re making.’ §

RELATED TOPICS: BYREDO, LONDON DESIGN, ON INSTAGRAM

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