by Avantika ShankarAug 07, 2019
New York-based Reddymade studio led by architect Suchi Reddy has designed the first physical retail space for Google in the Chelsea neighbourhood of the city. Located on the corner of 15th Street and Ninth Avenue, the project occupies the ground floor of the tech company’s NYC headquarters, presenting itself as a one stop destination offering intuitive, personalised experiences of both online and offline shopping.
For this retail design, Reddy has incorporated the principles of Neuroaesthetics - an emerging discipline in the field of aesthetics that uses neuroscience to understand how we experience beauty in different creative fields. Her approach to the project is drawn from the elements of a former exhibition titled ‘A Space For Being’ that she worked on with Ivy Ross (VP of design, UX and research, Google Hardware) during Salone del Mobile 2019 in Milan. Following the belief that form follows feeling and that good design if calibrated carefully, positively influences wellbeing and creativity, the two have created ‘a playful and pragmatic expression of this motto with, bringing a unique focus to the interplay of good design with human perception’.
The glazed façade of the store overlooks the entrance of the famous Chelsea Market located on the opposite end. Various ‘discovery boxes’ are lined along the façade as illuminated windows that reveal Google products. A nod to New York’s window-shopping traditions, the design of these boxes uses AR that allow people to interact with the products as they pass by the storefront.
At the entrance sits a semi-circular node of extruded glass tubing suspended between the floor and the ceiling. Described as the ‘Imagination Space’ of store, the structure encases various screens where customers can interact with Google’s products and technologies. Further into the space, fluid forms, neutral tones, and warm lighting compose the design language. As per Reddymade Studio, the idea was to ‘re-awaken visitors to the childlike wonder found in the technology and digital innovation on display’.
Running throughout the space are thin black metal lines in a flowing patterned path that trigger customers’ attention to the displayed products. Twisting its way through the room, the sleek form introduces ‘the intuitive whimsy of unexpected connections and free-from play while defining spaces for living’. A support desk at the centre of the store sports a halo with a message “Here to Help” recurring on a circular ringed profile. Beyond the display areas, a dedicated seating space populated by poufs and benches are created for customers seeking product assistance.
Throughout the store, soft and tactile surfaces are created by cork furniture and wooden panelling. “Reddymade’s design puts the visitor at ease, welcoming those seeking help alongside those pursuing their curiosity,” states an official statement released on behalf of the studio. The Google store officially opened to the public on June 17, 2021.