Google has opened its first physical retail space in Manhattan’s trendy Chelsea neighbourhood, welcoming customers for the first time on Thursday.
On the corner of 15th Street and Ninth Avenue, the 5,000-square-feet Google Store is located a block away from rival Apple Inc’s 14th Street shop and occupies the first floor of the former Port Authority Building, an Art Deco building that’s now home to the technology giant’s New York headquarters.
Inside, customers can browse through a selection of hardware made by Google, such as Pixel phones, Pixelbooks, Nest products and Fitbit devices.
Devices dotted about the store are working and untethered, so shoppers can test them, while illuminated “discovery boxes” in the windows allow passersby to interact with products using augmented reality technology.
Architect Suchi Reddy of Reddymade was behind the design, which was meant to recreate a retail experience based on a collaboration during Milan’s Salone del Mobile in 2019, according to Dezeen.
The idea is to “re-awaken visitors to the childlike wonder found in the technology and digital innovation on display”, a Reddymade statement shared by the design publication said.
Furniture is made of blond wood and cork, allowing the products to stand out against a neutral backdrop.
“It’s like walking into a dream,” Ivy Ross, vice president of design, user experience and research for Google Hardware, said during a virtual tour. “I hope customers feel the same way. I want them to be happy and inspired, like I am being in here.”
While the store has been designed more akin to a social space, the company has said it will limit the number of customers who can be inside at any one time, and all, including staff, will have to wear masks because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Other features at the store include a children’s room, a space where people can play video games through Google’s Stadia streaming services and an Imagination Space, where visitors can discover services that may not be available to the public yet.
A dark area also allows customers to test the Pixel phone’s Night Sight feature.
Take a look through the images above to see more of the Google Store.