Sensory store: Bang & Olufsen opens a quietly cool Melbourne flagship
A recently completed Bang & Olufsen store, at Melbourne’s fancy retail end of town, reflects the excellence and luxury associated with the B&O brand.
The flagship outlet is the fourth largest of its kind in the world and located within the heritage-listed Cavendish House, which was built between World Wars in 1930. Its interior design was a collaborative effort between Bates Smart architects and Danish B&O designer, Lene Stenz-Schlünssen. 'We wanted the B&O product to read as a contemporary insertion within a luxurious heritage environment,' says Bates Smart's associate director, Grant Filipoff. So the building’s stunning Chicago-esque features were expressed, and a luxurious and interactive backdrop was provided for the brand’s high-end electronic merchandise.
'Furniture and fittings were selected to complement the [B&O] product,' says Filipoff. 'Including the Aksel Kjersgaard desk and the Kai Kristiansen dining chair,' which sit beautifully beside the herringbone patterning of floor parquetry and tiles.
The uncluttered design does more than display products and project brand qualities. 'The sensory flagship isn’t just a retail space, it’s a way to experience and share the [B&O] story with our customers,' says Julian Kipping, B&O's general manager for Australia and New Zealand.
Thus, this ‘sensory store’ for cutting edge electronics has a soundproof listening room that allows customers to experience B&O’s top of the range loudspeakers and contemplate their $100,000 price tag. And some elegant and playful technology both enhances and enables the stripped-back aesthetic: pneumatic, rotating panels on the rear wall ensure one only sees the product being sampled, gracefully gliding from view as soon as another is selected. Much of this luxury and interactivity can be absorbed from a short distance on electronic lounges, which permit customers to swivel and peruse certain products while seated – with a shot of caffeine from the in-store coffee bay, if desired.