CONDIMENT JUNKIE DESIGN A WORLD FIRST FOR SELFRIDGES’ WHITE CHRISTMAS WINDOWS
"Selfridges is making history by launching a revolutionary window display for its 2011 Christmas season that sees the run of its Oxford Street windows play re-engineered carols without the need for loudspeakers or sound-preserving booths, as is the case when such an initiative is attempted by stores around the world. Each window is effectively turned into an enchanting and oversized music box. The global innovation, which is taking Selfridges a big step further into the future of window displays, is the brainchild of London-based creative outfit Condiment Junkie."- Selfridges press release
We were given the challenge of creating a sound installation to compliment the theme of ‘White’ this christmas. The Selfridges white is very pure, clean and contemporary, but also comforting, safe, traditional and magical.
We first looked at how sound and language have crossovers - words like ‘shimmering’, ‘bright’, ‘crystal’ - are all used as sonic descriptions as well as visual.
We looked into what objects create these bright, crystal sounds - a chandelier in the wind, whispers, the sharp percussive ring of bells - and then to music boxes.
The sound of a music box is comforting, warm and calming. It is also crystal clear, clean, crisp.
Music boxes are associated with memories and fantasies - often built in to jewelry boxes or carousels with pictures of loved ones. They are often accompanied by a twirling ballerina, or magical snow globes.
This idea of the cyclic carousel also interested us - used as a metaphor for life, special annual occasions like Christmas mark another turn of the wheel.
Christmas carols are also often based on cyclic melodies - the word Carol comes from the old French word Carole or Carola, a type of circular dance from the 12th and 13th centuries.
We began deconstructing and re-imagining christmas carols. Using the medieval chord patterns on which traditional carols and wassailing songs are based, we created pieces that are simultaneously familiar and that ring true with the traditional sounds of Christmas, but also feel new and contemporary.
The sound is delivered through the windows using audio elements that when attached to a surface, turn the whole surface into a speaker.
To make the experience more interactive and engaging, we wanted passers-by to be able to wind-up the music boxes from the street. We designed a revolutionary through-the-window, interactive triggering system that enables customers to wind-up the music boxes and set them off to play once round the carousel. On the main window they can control each of the cyclic musical elements individually, giving them the opportunity to create different versions of the piece each time, depending on the order in which they’re triggered.
Almost every bit of press in traditional and online newspapers and magazines (and there has already been a lot) has lead with the interactive music element. Proving once and for all that sound makes a difference.
Below are a few of the music box pieces we composed