Friday, 11 October 2013

Exploring an emporium : The Imaginarium

A truly fascinating shop opened in York about a month ago.
I’d seen snippets and odd snaps on social media, and it was my other reason (as well as the new Hobbs opening) for making a trip to Yorkshire’s ancient walled city recently.
Nothing can really prepare you for entering The Imaginarium. Incongruously placed just a couple of doors up from McDonald’s (@ 6 Blake Street, YO1 8QG) I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and I’m not sure anywhere else like it exists.
You may look at these pictures but I guarantee if you go you will see something else, something more. Every nook and cranny of this shop has a thing to surprise and delight. It’s like a wonderland, where imagination has been let run wild, a place to escape to. It feels like something Roald Dahl might have cooked up. With magical music, candlelight, scented diffusers, chandeliers, fairground horses and sculptures climbing the walls, it’s an overload of the senses and the mood changes with each metre you browse.
And it’s very clever. Because ultimately, it’s still a shop: it wants to sell things. But its wares are displayed in such an exciting and engrossing way. Scarves draped on hands poking out of the wall, necklaces hanging from books, potions sitting atop a glass cabinet in which lies a skeletal mermaid. Its items for sale juxtapose and interact.
You’re an adult, you’ve been into thousands of shops, but this is so different that you feel like a child walking into Willy Wonka’s factory, eyes wide with wonder.
Come on in.
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
There’s more to The Imaginarium than just fantasy and frivolity, though. The shop has a strong ethos to support British and Yorkshire creatives, with the worthy exception of ibride‘s pretty trays (from Paris).
It stocks sought-after textile art by Mister Finch, distinctive printed fabrics and ceramics by House of HackneyBronte throws, stamped vintage cutlery by The Cutlery Commission, ceramics by Ali MillerTrue Grace candles and diffusers and jewellery by And Mary. I spotted a couple of familiar local names, includingSam Bryan‘s fairies and etchings by [vinegar & brown paper], who I’ve written about before.
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com

The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
There’s much more I could say, but the best thing to do is just go and explore and discover it for yourself. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And when you do go, make sure you press the button beneath this guy, who was a special commission by world-leading animatronics experts.
The Imaginarium, York | www.angelinthenorth.com
If all shops adopted The Imaginarium’s ethos, you can’t imagine people talking about the high street being in crisis. It’s certainly an approach that gives you an experience to counter the convenience of shopping online.
What do you think?
PS Come back in a couple of days when I’ll be talking about The Imaginarium’s equally charming sister shop The Yorkshire Soap Company.

3 comments:

  1. It looks amazing! Definitely the kind of shop I'd love to have a nosy round.

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  2. We walked past this shop when we were in York for a day in June this year, it looks the kind of place I would love to browse before Christmas. So much to see there, although I'm not sure I'd buy much; more something to get inspiration from than to actually take home.

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  3. I cant wait to visit - im in York in a couple of weeks so I just hope I can get in when its not too crowded. I love the owl!

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