Google’s first permanent retail store looks like an exploratorium – SURFACE
For the first time in Google’s 22-year history, the tech giant has opened a physical retail store. Located at the foot of the former Port Authority Building, a sprawling Art Deco structure that also houses the company’s New York headquarters, the 5,000-square-foot outpost will serve as a one-stop-shop for exploring the growing suite of Google consumer hardware from Pixel phones. and Nest home gadgets connected to Fitbit wearable devices. Beyond a place to buy and repair devices, the store offers a host of immersive experiences so customers can see for themselves how Google plans its technology to fit into everyone’s lives. days.
Like the products inside, the store is light and accessible. One zone mimics different rooms in a house equipped with Google hardware; The “discovery boxes” lined up along the windows feature 3D animations that tell little-known stories and details about various Google products. At the bottom, “sandbox” areas allow customers to test the products themselves. The Store Anchor is a 17-foot-wide room-like installation, equipped with giant LED screens, that immerses visitors in artistic explorations of Google software like Search and Maps. For the inaugural translation experience, clients can whisper sentences and hear that same whispered sentence in 24 languages while displaying that text on a screen.
Google’s vice president of material design Ivy Ross, who also served as the project’s creative director, opted for lasting design details that create a calm atmosphere. Wood veneer walls, for example, are made from responsibly sourced hickory. Daniel Michalik designed the furniture using renewable materials such as cork which also gives off a warm feeling, an antidote to the antiseptic and sleek minimalism often favored by Google’s competitors. “Space is designed to be a physical expression of what Google stands for,” says Ross Fast business. “We wanted the space to continue the design principles that emanate from our product. Our philosophy is that technology should fit into our lives, not stand out. We want this space to be human because we believe that technology is a tool to amplify our possibilities as humans.
Ross worked closely with architect Suchi Reddy, founder of local company Reddymade, to design the LEED Platinum certified space. The two men have previously collaborated with the Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University on ‘A Space for Being’, an exhibition during Milan Design Week 2019 on the emerging field of neuroesthetics, which explores the impact of design elements such as color and texture on our biology.
It’s unclear whether Google, which has long hosted retail pop-ups, will expand its business footprint to other cities. Unlike Apple, a hardware juggernaut with more than 500 stores worldwide, the vast majority of revenue for Alphabet, parent company of Google, comes from digital ads, which generated 147 billion dollars last year only. Its other major competitor, Microsoft, has permanently closed its entire line of retail stores during the pandemic. Rather, Google is probably testing the waters – its foray into retail will serve as a testing ground for gathering valuable customer information and incorporating it into upcoming products.
Google is located at 76 Ninth Avenue in New York City.