First Sonos Flagship retail store ain’t no ordinary hi-fi shop, it's a lifestyle template

posted on Friday, 22nd July 2016 by Steve May

Multi-room  Streaming  Sonos  Retail 


Multiroom wireless audio leader Sonos has opened its first retail store. Located at 101 Greene Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood, the 4,200-square-foot retail store offers a hands-on product experience, but isn’t like any typical electronics outlet. It's a lifestyle template.

Customers aren’t customers, they’re ‘guests’ and the venue is filled with cool art and design details which reflect New York and music culture, including a hand-painted mural of music producer and Sonos advisor Rick Rubin. The store is just blocks from where Rubin produced records by Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. 

Not sure what Sonos system to buy? Seven house-shaped listening rooms form a row on the ground floor, designed to show which Sonos speakers and components are the best fit for your own home. 

View From Front Of Store Small

Sonos Listening Room 1 - Exterior Small

Each room is constructed from four layers of acoustic sheet rock with a 2,000-lb, steelframed glass door, to ensure sounds are contained within each space. Beveled glass and a parallel wall that alternates absorptive and reflective materials has been used to optimise audio quality. There are rugs, full bookshelves, and custom furniture from Partners & Spade (the design partner for the Sonos store).

“The music experience in your home, and how it sounds, is just as important as the perfect chair or considered lighting,” explains Dmitri Siegel, Sonos VP Global Brand.  “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.” 

Music producer Giles Martin and Sonos Audio Engineering Leader Dr. Hilmar Lehnert were charged with making the entire store a listening experience. 

“Each room has been acoustically designed to replicate a great home listening environment,” says Martin. "The intention is to allow the music to do the talking, making it easy for everyone to experience Sonos exactly as they would at home, even though they are in the retail environment.”

Wall Of Sound - Back Wall Of Store Small

Front Of Store Product Family Tree And Rick Rubin Mural Small

At the back of the store is a huge ‘Wall of sound’ comprising 297 Sonos speakers. Visitors can also browse a collection of rare cassette tapes owned by musician Thurston Moore, on display in the downstairs Listening Room. There are also magaines to browse, including out-of-print titles such as Arthur, New York Rocker, and East Village Eye.

Interestingly, the store also offers ‘Simple Set Up,’ a white-glove in-home service that includes local delivery, set-up, and product introductions for any in-store purchase. There are also artist listening sessions, live broadcasts, and collaborations with New York-based creators planned. There’s even a weekly happy Hour, run with local wine curators, brewers and distillers.

Welcome to the new face of entertainment technology retailing.    

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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