Google, Byredo and Loewe activate Selfridges’ abandoned hotel in an immersive tech takeover
Selfridges has embraced its radical alter-ego in The Flipside, a side-stepping new exhibition aiming to define contemporary – and future – concepts of ‘radical luxury’. Housed a few steps from the department store’s storied, bright-white Accessories Hall, which was overhauled last year, is The Old Selfridges Hotel, a concrete maze of darkened rooms, activated by luxury technology, fashion and fragrance houses into a disorientating dystopia.
The Flipside takes notes from the Accessories Hall and turns them on their head. An antithesis of the Hall’s clean-cut aesthetic, with its half-moon shaped bar and distinctive, calming orb lighting, The Flipside employs high gloss black flooring, a multitude of mirrors, and neon strips that puncture the darkness. It’s as if, Stranger Things-style, we’ve slipped into the Upside Down.
Inside The Flipside at the Old Selfridges’ Hotel, London
Alongside installations by Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Thom Browne, Gareth Pugh presents a self-portrait film displayed on a corridor of mirrored screens, and Byredo looks to a future where fresh water will be a precious scarcity, through a collection of large, empty water butts, which echo the silhouette of its famous fragrance vessel. Elsewhere, Google has created a photobooth installation, where guests take selfies framed by their own definitions of luxury, showcasing the Pixel 2’s low-light abilities. The exhibition cumulates (via a fragrant make-your-own personalised cocktail room called The Libationary) atop a giant sundial, created by Selfridges in-house design team, where we are asked to contemplate the most in-demand of luxuries – time.
The Flipside is the second stop on Selfridges ongoing ‘radical luxury’ campaign trail, the most ambitious in its 109 year history. It launched earlier this month with a 60 second art-film, currently playing in cinemas across the country – the first film advert from the department store in 40 years. We also look forward to The Flipside hosting contemporary dance performances and panel discussions, all of which will attempt to define, question and dissect radicalism in the age of luxury.