London shopping: Playlounge
a) want to escape the maddening crowds on Oxford Street?
b) fancy an alternative to high-street chain stores?
c) like design, art and illustration with a fun and quirky edge?
d) all of the above?
Then head straight to Playlounge on Beak Street (just five minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus) and get your fill of innovative and design-focussed collectable figures, vinyl toys, gadgets, books, stationery and games.
I like many things about this shop. The clever product selection is inspired and beautifully displayed in fluoro Perspex honeycomb-shaped units. Here you can admire the range of vinyl figures, like Tim Burton’s Stick Boy and Match Girl, Gorillaz, In Crowd, and Ego’s DIY Designer Toy.
The counter display of small collectable figures and toys are visually enticing (there’s so much to look at) and most ranges are mystery packs (double the excitement). I’ve already started a collection of Australian designer Nathan Jurevicius’s Scarygirl figures, but I also like Japanese design agency Devil Robot’s tofu figures (basically, characters with a block of tofu for a head). Genius. The Mongers Menthols' slogan is "Smoking is Bad" but they are actually wickedly funny smoking characters (like the badass smoking icecream).
Look out for Una Funkin – a tiny voice-activated oracle (kinda like a Lucky 8 ball but better) and Japanese You Win/You Lose keychain accessories (the character’s eyes flash when you’re about to experience good or bad luck). Could be handy. And I reckon Generation X customers just might get a kick out of Office Cubes (create your own office fun with collectable modular office sets).
19 Beak Street
London W1F 9RF
Tel: 020 7287 7073
Mon to Sat 11am-7pm
Tube: Oxford Circus