Jack White’s new London record store is an interactive ode to his daring style
“This is the first time that we have gone international with what we do,” said White. A D. “We only sell our own records and the things that we produce and are involved in. We don’t sell other people’s records. It’s very unique and a boutique environment, so it’s an experience of sorts.
The primary color scheme appears to be White’s calling card, just as black, white, and red were the trademark of his group, The White Stripes. Within Third Man London, the bold hues have a certain rhythm. “Anything green is usually storage or led to storage,” White explains. “Blue is everything to do with live music.” (In the Nashville store, blue is only visible when facing west and red when facing east.)
While semi-monochromatic rooms keep the small space from feeling overly busy, there’s a lot to grab the attention of patrons besides records and merchandise for sale. “We try to have a little unique experience, every 5 to 10 feet instead,” White says. This includes a London phone booth, painted yellow, with a custom phone designed by Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering inside; an automatic book vending machine; and a recording booth where you can make your own vinyl record. Getting all of this in the store was no easy feat.
“Everything in London is so old-school. There are no real rectangular rooms. There are all corners and weird, jagged 37 degree things. So we had a lot of interesting times trying to make it all work, ”White said. Contractor and fabricator Will Slater and architect Busby Webb helped, as was almost everything in the store being custom made. “I start to get excited about the design when I feel a constriction,” White says.
There is no doubt that design and music are intimately linked for the rocker who, in addition to his work with The White Stripes, has made music both solo and with the group The Raconteurs. In fact, before his career exploded, the Detroit native was a 15-year-old apprentice upholsterer, learning the trade from a local upholsterer named Brian Muldoon. Together they made music under the name The Upholsterers and even hid copies of their songs in furniture at found years later.