Samsung 837, New York
837 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014
Samsung has declared the biggest and most impressive challenge to Apple, with the opening of Samsung 837 in New York’s Meatpacking District.
Having visited it for ourselves, we think it is the best tech experience on the planet.
Samsung 837 has been billed an ‘Unstore of the Future’ – a high tech interactive playground and lounge where you can try Samsung products but not buy them.
Named after its address on Washington Street, the three floor 40,000 sq ft flagship concept has been designed by Tokyo super designers Wonderwall and has a host of innovative personalisable technology experiences.
The entrance is dominated by the main stage; a stepped theatre with a three storey screen made from 96 55 inch flat screen TVs.
And in our narcissistic selfie age, you can have your photo taken on the Photo Mosaic and your face broadcast on the giant screen for all to see.
The VR tunnel and simulator chairs take you on an immersive virtual exploration, whilst the studio offers tutorials for video and social media editing.
The social gallery is an astonishing mirrored digital exhibition by Black Egg design studio that transforms your own instagram handle into an immersive sound and image installation.
Upstairs the Lounge and Playroom offer a comfortable place to hang out and explore Samsung devices.
The kitchen features a fully functioning chef kitchen and new concept appliances including the connected fridge, which has a family entertainment hub and online ordering. You can even look inside the fridge from your smartphone whilst you shop and automatically check use by dates.
The 837 concept grew out of Samsung’s Galaxy Experience Pop up in SoHo, but is more comfortable and stylish.
The Café serves coffee from Stand – a brand that launched at Smorgasburg, the trendy pop up street market in Brooklyn, as well as artisan doughnuts.
You can pay using Samsung Pay – the only place where products are for sale in store.
From our perspective, this is a genuinely great retail concept; a space that feels really welcoming and not at all stuffy. It’s comfortable, unlike an Apple store, with lots of sofas, a very decent cup of coffee and some great doughnuts.
The only drawback, paradoxically, is that you can’t actually buy. We think this is a missed opportunity. Part of the pleasure of shopping is the instant gratification of purchase and whilst showcasing the technology as a sales-pitch free experience makes sense, the space should still offer something tangible to take away.
We understand that the concept is seen as a marketing test bed for the brand and a way to track how customers engage in a retail environment.
For long term Apple customers, the store goes a long way to tempting a possibly permanent switch.
And the connected fridge is super cool.