Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which “not enough people know about”, according to director of communications Peter Cross.
Department store chain John Lewis will launch an interactive exhibition at its London flagship store on Oxford Street in May as part of a series of commemorative events to mark the retailer’s 150th anniversary. Visitors to the exhibition will get an insight into founder, John Speden Lewis and his revolutionary idea that all workers should be co-owners and share in the success of the company.
The exhibition will include an installation that tells the story of how a WWII bomb threatened the future of the company. It will also showcase how the ‘craft of shopkeeping’ and a passion for customer service has guided the business ever since. The work of many celebrated designers and brands is recognised, as well as the retailer’s own textile mill, Herbert Parkinson, where a bespoke weave will fill the exhibition floor and run over the ceiling. Visitors will exit the exhibition with a glimpse into how consumers will shop, live and look in the future, through a unique collaboration with the Royal College of Art.
In a first for the retailer, the Oxford Street flagship will also open its roof to London. Working with Tony Woods, Royal Horticultural Society National Young Designer of the Year, and the partnership’s own gardeners from the Longstock estate, the urban rooftop will be transformed into a tranquil space.
John Lewis is also collaborating with a number of British brands and designers to offer an edited assortment of product that has been produced exclusively for the anniversary.
-Partnerships include Antoni & Alison, Jaeger, Ted Baker, Lucienne Day, Barbour, Alex Monroe, Jo Malone, Liz Earle, Dualit, Vitra, Alessi, Links of London and Silvercross.
John Lewis shops across the UK will join the celebrations, which start on Saturday 3 May, with a host of regional activities. Working in partnership with Barnardos, each shop will be supporting local charity initiatives. The retailer will also launch a special 150th anniversary television advert to kick off its celebrations.