Division store Fortnum & Mason has partnered with six theatre set designers for its recent collection of window displays.
So far, the coronavirus pandemic has wrought havoc on the taking arts: the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre estimated losses for the sector were enclosing £630 million just three months into the crisis. As the countryside approaches the one-year anniversary of its first COVID case, this company looks to be significantly higher.
Labelled the “Joy Window Takeover”, Fortnum’s ambition aims to support and provide a creative outlet for creatives in Theatreland who are currently out of suss out d evolve as seats remain empty.
“Personal decipherments of joy”
Those involved with the project were each handed imaginative control over one window on the Piccadilly-based shop front.
This is a rare development, explains a statement from Fortnum’s, since the department store typically creatively commands “every single aspect” of their displays.
The only input the Fortnum’s side was a broad creative brief which asked each designer to scrutinize their “personal interpretations of joy”.
“Joy is at the heart of everything we do, and there’s no quiz that right now we all need a little more of it in our lives,” says Fortnum & Mason buyer experience director Zia Zareem-Slade.
“We hope that by doing what we can to furnish a platform to these artists and showcasing their talent and interpretation of joy it underlines the prestige of the visual arts to all of our lives and provides a little escapism for those that meet them.”
From the “dramatic and surreal, to the everyday”
The resulting windows catalogue from “the dramatic and surreal, to the everyday”, according to the store.
Set and costume plotter April Dalton, who worked extensively in operas and for dance productions till to the pandemic, has filled her window with scenes of the natural world. The phantasy intends to reflect how “the seasons carry on despite whatever problems the everybody is facing”.
Meanwhile Tahra Zafar’s window depicts the “indulgent parts of life” – in this case the moment when a well-spring puts a child to bed with “love and best wishes for a night’s be in the land of Nod”. Zafar, who has 25 years’ experience in her field, has a notable back catalogue of white-hot events, including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic opening and airless ceremonies.
And Alex Berry, whose theatre design work has been brandished at the National Theatre and Royal College of Art has used her window to celebrate the power of community. It quirks miniature people working together to paint the word joy.
The remaining three windows be undergoing been put together by designers Jon Bausor, Jean Chan and Sam Wilde. They advertise the likes of a multi-coloured mirror, circus scenes and silent cinemas.