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Ffern's London Perfumery

Ffern’s London store, designed by House of Grey, blends natural materials, artisans, and innovation for a sensory fragrance experience.

Bauwerk Colour Still
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo by Edvinas Brunzas

Just around the corner from the mass-market stores of Regent’s street and Carnaby Street in London, there is a timeless and inviting storefront. On the day of our visit,  buckets of narcissus were placed on the front stoop with a sign inviting visitors to help themselves. The door was ajar, letting in the first whiffs of spring…offering the first glimpse of the unique retail experience inside. The shop belongs to Ffern, a British brand that creates limited-edition seasonal fragrances, using only natural and organic ingredients in sustainable, plastic-free packaging.

After several years trading online, Ffern’s creative director, Emily Cameron, sought out the expertise of House of Grey, a London-based interiors studio led by Louisa Grey, to create the brand’s first physical store. House of Grey has pioneered Circular Salutogenic Design, which redefines how interior designers and architects can design and renovate spaces for the good of human health and the planet. After seeing how Ffern’s story is told through so many thoughtful details, it was clear the two shared a natural sense of harmony. Their vision was brought to life using a collection of experts and brands from around the UK and Europe who are all dedicated to using natural materials in their work.

Colours used in this project
Still
Bauwerk Colour 'Still' Limewash Paint
Still
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas

Ffern’s flagship store opened earlier this year and exists in a really fascinating intersection of retail and experience, designed to engage all the senses (we were even offered a cup of Ffern tea), with a feeling more akin to an installation and meditation space than a store.

“We didn’t want the space to feel like a generic retail experience, but more of a space that translated Ffern’s creative vision of the brand from the 2D sphere into a living and breathing 3D space.” Louisa reflected. “We designed the space to symbiotically evolve as the seasons do with a beautiful cyclical path. The handmade glass barometer allows the season scent to drop down onto handcrafted Norfolk terracotta discs so the store is immersed in the seasonal scent.” The display also plays into the seasonal ritual, "At the end of the season with the last drop it will show the time element of life and the seasons changing. Thus being ready to embrace the next season with open arms, constantly evolving with the store display to show the natural elements that make the scent.”

Bauwerk Colour 'Still' Limewash Paint
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas

The front section of the store is limewashed with the colour “Still”, which perfectly aligns with the feeling of the space. We watched hanging dried ferns oscillate gently in the breeze, with shadows dancing across the limewashed wall. And while there’s gentle movement in both the ferns and the limewash patina, the overall impact is a calming stillness.

Juxtaposing these soft natural touches are the more solid statements like the rough-edged stone plinths. The blocks of white lias, hadspen fossil and ham stone were sourced from a quarry in Somerset, local to Ffern and act as a retail display. Behind the plinth is a visual gallery displaying the fresh ingredients that make up the season’s perfume–which on our visit included beautiful stemmed lemons and materials in antique vessels.

Bauwerk Colour 'Still'
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas
Ffern Store by House of Grey
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas
Ffern Perfume Store by House of Grey
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas
"Our design allows for seasonal changes to be illustrated using natural plants and ingredients."
Louisa Grey
Owner House of Grey
Bauwerk Colour 'Still' Limewash paint
Still
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas

The most technologically advanced piece in the shop is actually the front desk. While it looks organic and decidedly non-tech, it’s actually a world first. Ffern's desk is the largest mushroom-based installation made of mycelium. Created in a similar way to Ffern’s sustainable packaging, every element of the desk is biodegradable and can be composted. If it’s damaged, it can be regrown in less than a week.

“We collaborated with artists and craftspeople to develop thoughtful pieces that can be removed and re-homed if and when Ffern decide to this chapter has ended and it is time for a new page” Grey noted. This is a true reflection of House of Grey’s ethos for purposeful designs that are future proofed and have minimal impact on the planet.

Bauwerk Limewash Paint 'Still'
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas
Bauwerk Colour 'Still' Limewash Paint
Still
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas

Battling the convenience of shopping online, there has to be a reason to go out–whether it’s to touch things, smell things or be inspired, Ffern’s store offers a compelling reason to visit. ”As humans, we unconsciously connect to our environments. I had been feeling for some time that the retail sphere has become very ‘templated’ and the majority of retail spaces feel very synthetic – highly illuminated with unnatural strip lighting, no airflow – and the result is a space that isn’t warm, inviting, or unique,” Grey told us.

“With the Ffern store, we wanted to develop a hugely positive perception of what a retail space can be, showing what’s possible, creating a person-centred space that empathises with the customer. Ffern have been joyous to work with and through a collaborative process, we built trust in creating a collective vision for the space which we believed in wholeheartedly.”

We’re proud to be part of this natural and material-focused retail experience and excited for more purposeful retail spaces to come.

Ffern Perfume Shopfront
© House of Grey for Ffern | Photo Edvinas Brunzas
Natural Limited-Edition Perfumery
Circular Salutogenic Interior design
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