New York -- Here are three new stores creating big buzz in the Big Apple:
1. Under Armour
Activewear giant Under Armour pulled out all the stops for the Manhattan debut of its Brand House format, opening a two-level, brand-immersive location in SoHo. With a focus on cutting-edge products and design, the SoHo Brand House is Under Armour's largest retail store to date. It has 10,000 sq. ft. of selling space and houses a comprehensive assortment of men's, women's and children’s apparel, footwear and equipment. Click here for photos.
Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by a large (30-by-16-ft.) video wall made up of more than two million LED lights. The video content includes product promotions as well as Under Armour-affiliated athletes caught in various sporting activities.
The first floor houses men’s and women’s non-running apparel. A huge Under Armour logo, made from wood, dominates the cash wrap area. Each of the fitting rooms is modeled after a different court or stadium, and each has a name that reflects a locale where the brand has a presence. Large murals of cities cover the walls.
The lower level is home to the children’s area and men’s and women’s running merchandise, which includes a large selection of shoes. It also houses the brand’s first Rowhouse Basement shop, a VIP area where staff provide private consultations to athletes, celebrities and celebrity clientele in an intimate, setting.
New York-based strategic agency a+i design corp provided creative advisory services for store layout, design and features for the store.
2. Urban Outfitters
Space Ninety 8, a new concept from Urban Outfitters, has opened in the uber-hip Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Big and spacious, the multi-level, 38,000-sq.-ft. space is located in a renovated warehouse. It has an industrial look, complete with exposed ceilings and brick walls, with lots of boho-chic accents. Click here for photos.
The basement level houses a pop-up, with Adidas originals serving as the inaugural tenant. The space is colorful, with bold, crazy prints (the work of a local artist) accenting the walls and displays.
The ground floor has a market area that showcases goods from local designers and vendors, along with a shoe boutique and a vintage shop called Urban Renewal. It also houses two pop-ups, which currently include Salt Surf, a fun, surf themed shop.
The second floor is home to Urban Outfitter's womenswear collections, accessories and beauty products. The third floor houses the brand's menswear collections, along with a curated selection of books and music. There is also a seating area and an iPhone charger station.
A short staircase in the men's area leads to a bar area. The third level will house a New York outpost of the trendy Los Angeles restaurant, The Gorbals Restaurant and Bar, due to open sometime in May. There is an outdoor extension of the restaurant and bar on the roof.
3. Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable’s flagship in Manhattan offers shoppers a customer-centric, digitally savvy experience, complete with a large video wall, interactive product demos, and several large 21" tablets that combine product learning with Internet browsing. Click here for photos.
The 14,000-sq.-ft. space features an open floor plan, where consumers can jump from TV to laptop to oversized-wall-mounted-tablet for the latest in home entertainment. The vibe is modern but warm. There is even a cozy living room vignette that showcases a digital fireplace as part of the IntelligentHome security and home management experience.
Multiple five-screen video walls, which are located around the store, and smaller signage tablets highlight relevant offerings to customers as they consult with associates. The showpiece of the store is a larger-than-life 90" custom-built tablet that looks and behaves like a giant mobile device.
Each piece of technology was strategically placed in the store, with customer and employee traffic flow, crowding, engagement zones and sightlines taken into careful consideration. The placement of digital experiences was designed to encourage traffic movement in some areas while discouraging crowding in others, and various techniques were used to draw customers in. The screens are placed so that they are visible from different locations in the store, each playing a different role in the customer journey. Design: Fame, Minneapolis; Digital installations: Reality Interactive, Middletown, Conn.