Yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed down to Tottenham Court Road to explore the new West Elm store in London ahead of the grand opening on Thursday this week. There was a tangible buzz about the shop as everyone muddled in together to help get everything ready on time, and it was fascinating to see the visual team hard at work creating such inspiring and creative displays.
I walked the store with West Elm’s Creative Director, Vanessa Holden, who talked me through the various sections of the store. The store is split over two levels and includes an extensive bedding and furniture area on the lower floor, including a sizeable Design Lab area which will include a free home stylist service; I believe decorators and shoppers alike will love this spacious, hands-on area of the store. I’ve always felt that West Elm get their visual merchandising spot on but this in store experience really does feel like something new and exciting for the London interiors market. From industrial to mid century or decorator to rustic the store successfully manages to display an array of different interior styles with aplomb; everything hangs together with visual ease thanks to the signature West Elm touches throughout.
As you enter the store upstairs you will find an enchanting Christmas story with lashings of mercury glass and shimmering metallics. Plus, there’s a collaborations area that includes a knockout sofa by James Harrison. This flows through into the ‘loft’ space in the middle of the store which will continually evolve with new product lines and inspiring apartment-like displays. At the back of the store there’s a standalone West Elm Market which includes a coffee shop, community work tables and super friendly baristas. I even tried my hand at coffee making (probably best if we gloss over that last part because I had varying degrees of success…!).
I have really enjoyed collaborating with West Elm over the past few years (here and here) so it was great meet so many of their talented team members yesterday and see their creative work coming alive in real time. It will be great to see shoppers reactions to our gallery wall collaboration with Etsy artists once it’s finished in time for the opening. I’d love to know what you love about West Elm and what you’re excited to see/shop from the new London store? Also, if you have any questions I’ll be holding a Twitter chat with Vanessa Holden at 1pm tomorrow. In the meantime: a big, bright and brilliant Bright.Bazaar welcome to London, West Elm!
// Photography by Will Taylor