This just in! Selfridges is no longer JUST the haute London abode for the season’s latest must-haves, it is also home to a futuristic concept store, featuring augmented-reality. Sound confusing? There is also a walkaround digital model of the 90-metre luxury super yacht designed by Blohm + Voss, in partnership with Zaha Hadid. If like me, you find these developments befuddling, we shall get into the nitty gritties, explained rather well to visitors, thanks to architecture, interiors and design magazine, Dezeen.
No the magazine isn’t just transcribing about it. Part of the Festival of Imagination, the concept store called ‘The Imagine Shop’ has been devised and curated by London 3D technology company, Inition and Dezeen. It creates an immersive retail experience where a watch, for instance, can be tried on virtually. Don’t believe me? Head to the Dezeen Watch Store pop-up where you can literally try on a range of watches by simply wrapping a paper “marker” around your wrist and looking at a screen. Your watch of choice will manifest on your wrist each time, à la sci-fi movies!
No wonder that name for the store wide festival! It explores “the nature, power and positive impact of imagination” meaning even larger items like cars, yachts or houses can be experienced virtually. Case in point, the Jazz super yacht designed for the German shipbuilders by Hadid. A plinth transforms into a holographic style visualization of the yacht when viewed through an iPad, with users able to walk around the yacht 360 degrees as if it were really there, which makes a lot of sense as it can’t actually be. “Super yachts are not something that you can carry in your briefcase and take to meetings, events or client presentations,” said Patrick Coote, sales and marketing director of Blohm + Voss Shipyards GmbH.
“Even models can be cumbersome and awkward to transport. Augmented reality allows us to give potential clients a 3D view, wherever they happen to be, in an office, exhibition, meeting or boat show. As AR improves and progresses, we are always looking at how we can further harness it to improve the service for our clients.” If things go as per augmented plans, the yacht will be the biggest and most expensive item ever sold at Selfridges, costing close to $500 million. Other products on sale in the store are ‘Future Beauty’, or objects that express a futuristic aesthetic; ‘Future Life’, including new product typologies we may use in the future; and Wearable technology, all of which can be experienced alongside the Festival of Imagination at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street. The Imagine Shop is open from 6 January till 2 March 2014.