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A look inside Byredo’s new more-than-just-a-store London store

A decade in the making, the luxury label’s founder Ben Gorham has just opened the retail-cum-exhibition space in Soho

Since it launched in 2006, Byredo has redefined what it means to be a fragrance label. Mostly because in addition to fragrances and (pretty amazing) scented candles, founder and creative director Ben Gorham has branched out into bags and leather accessories, as well as collaborating with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and creating an installation with Selfridges.

When it came to opening a physical store space then, it made sense for Gorham to approach it from a different perspective. While it was always Gorham’s plan to open a space in London, it was New York that came first in 2015, with the designer holding off until he found the perfect location. “We’ve been around for 12 years and it’s been really slow and meticulous in how we’ve built it,” Gorham tells us. “With retail, I wanted to really take our time and find places in cities that made sense.”

For the London store, this is a space on Lexington Street in Soho, taking over the entire building. “My perception of our following in London is that it’s younger and more progressive, I wanted to build this store for them,” Gorham explains. Just like its products, the focus in the store was luxury, but also bringing emotion. To do that, Gorham collaborated with experts in different fields – the floor came from a Danish company, the furniture from Italy, and the blinds from Kyoto – each bringing their personality to the space. In fact, everything was created especially, save for a single piece of artwork bought by Gorham.

Although the store will have all the regular purposes of a store (yes, including buying those amazing candles), Gorham plans for it to be much more than that, recognising how retail spaces are changing. For us, it's an opportunity to again slow things down, create an environment where people can come and experience product without the stress of buying,” he says.

The luxury of having an entire building means this idea can be fully explored, with an exhibition space upstairs that will be utilised to create further collaborations. “We have a lot of upcoming projects, one in ceramics and one in food that's really interesting,” Gorham says. “There’s an idea that I can invite other friends, creatives, and artists to present projects that I find meaningful.”

Now that the London store is finally here, what’s next? “Paris, probably,” he says. But don’t think that London is done and dusted, he only knows it’s all finalised once he’s in the store – making tweaks up until the opening day. “That’s the cliche with emotion. It’s the same thing with fragrance or a bag. When I know, I know.”