This Audio Store Wants You to Feel at Home
Today, audio company Sonos opens doors to its first flagship and retail location in New York’s Soho at 101 Greene Street—a location that counts Apple, Bathing Ape, and Design Within Reach among its neighboring retailers.
Designed in collaboration with creative agency Partners & Spade, the store is framed around a series of seven listening stations that take the form of tiny pitched homes. The reason for this, says Whitney Walker, general manager of Sonos stores, was simple: "The best place to discover Sonos product, up until now, has been a friend's house. We tried to simplify that—but we also recognize that many people might not realize that a home setting is the best place to try us out."
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Each of the 120-square-foot listening rooms offers a combination of simulated environments—a kitchen, a study, a living room—with a range of Sonos speakers placed within the context of an elaborately designed interior. These are ostensibly geared to appeal to different style personalities. One is covered in a panoply of patterned, custom wall coverings by artist Mark Chamberlain; another features wall-to-wall illustrations by Thibaud Herem in homage to the work of architect Paul Rudolph.
Six of the seven pods are located on the ground-level floor of the 4,200-square-foot space; the seventh pod, located on the lower-level floor, demonstrates how the wireless smart speakers can also connect to "legacy audio equipment"—in this case, a stable of HiFi audio electronics designed by Dieter Rams for Braun in the 1960s—to play analog music sources in addition to the many digital streaming services supported by the Sonos interface. The vintage setup is paired with an Eames Lounge Chair and a framed display of colorful cassettes, handpicked by musician Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
The brand's in-house sound and audio engineering team, led by Dr. Hilmar Lehnert and Giles Martin, worked to ensure the store’s interior was acoustically engineered to be soundproof from one pod to the next, with a mix of absorptive and reflective materials and surfaces to optimize sound.
"The music experience in your home, and how it sounds, is just as important as the perfect chair or considered lighting," said Dmitri Siegel, VP Global Brand, by statement. "The whole store experience is based on the idea of being in a really comfortable and inspiring environment, listening to music you love, but hearing it in a way you never have before."
Walker adds that he hopes the space, which formerly housed legendary jazz supper club Greene Street Cafe upstairs in the late 1970s, will take on a welcoming, casual presence—where people will feel at ease to come by and listen to music as they might have done in record stores in previous years.
The store opens to the public at noon today, July 19, with a launch event later in the evening and several more throughout the opening week.