STORE SPACES

Barneys New York honored for innovative lighting

BY Marianne Wilson

Specialty luxury retailer Barneys New York has been recognized for the lighting design at its new downtown flagship in New York City.

Barneys took home an Award of Excellence at the 34th Annual International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) International Lighting Design Awards. Designed by Cooley Monato Studio, the lighting allows the space to feel cohesive, spacious and dynamic despite such challenging existing conditions as irregular column grids and low ceiling heights. Barneys' contemporary and upscale identity is expressed through a rich material palette accentuated entirely by LED lighting.

Apertures in the ceiling were specifically placed, not tied to a rigid grid and always keeping flexibility in mind. By using recessed, regressed, beveled trims, the ceiling apertures practically disappear from view. Millwork lighting allows for reduced energy use by lighting product from a close proximity.

The men’s and women’s floors have distinctive, curved, illuminated ceiling pop-up coves (‘amoebas’) to provide ambient light, visual interest, and a little breathing room to the low ceilings. Accent light fixtures on the ceiling provide light that bounces off the glossy metal, organically shaped display tops to create golden patterns above.

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STORE SPACES

Midwest home furnishings retailer expanding

BY Marianne Wilson

The RoomPlace growing its store portfolio.

The family-owned company has opened a new showroom and warehouse distribution center in Indianapolis. The location is part of a strategic initiative to expand the furniture retailer's footprint in the city.

The new outpost also marks The RoomPlace's 25th store, with locations across Illinois and Indiana. It is one of the company's largest, at over 70,000 sq. ft. features a 16,000-sq.-ft. clearance center.

"We are always working towards ways to provide our customers with better services and selection, and our new store and distribution center achieves those goals," said Paul Adams, CEO at The RoomPlace, which is based in Lombard, Ill.

The new store is in a building that formerly housed Levitz Furniture. It had been vacant for over 15 years. The property is owned by Sandor, a privately held shopping center developer.

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Consumer electronics giant partners with Amazon, Google

BY Marianne Wilson

Best Buy is looking to grab share in one of the hottest categories of the "smart" home market: voice-activated devices.

The retailer is adding Amazon Alexa and Google Home "experiences" to about 700 Best Buy stores nationwide. The new interactive displays will start arriving in stores in July, with the rollout complete by the end of the year. In addition, there will be an enhanced online presence for the devices on Best Buy's e-commerce site.

Located near the smart home department, the new in-store displays will feature the latest voice assistants, including Amazon Echo Show and Google Home, along with the ever-growing number of products that interact with them, such as Nest thermostats and Philips Hue lighting.

“Smart home, especially voice technology, can meaningfully change and improve the way we live our lives,” said Amy College, senior VP of merchandising at Best Buy. “In collaboration with Amazon and Google, these experiences will help people understand and use this groundbreaking technology to make their lives safer, easier and simply more fun.”

The new areas will be staffed by specially-trained Best Buy employees who will be able to explain the different ways consumers can use voice-activated assistants, from turning on the lights to turning down the thermostat.

"We’re excited to work with Best Buy on this because their stores are one of the best places for customers to see, hear and understand how these delightful Alexa experiences come together,” stated Miriam Daniel, product director of Amazon Echo devices.

Best Buy has been expanding its position in the smart home category since 2014, when it debuted "Connected Home" departments. In May, it announced a partnership with Vivint Smart Home, which makes and installs smart devices.

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