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Brief Published: 12 Jan 2015

Sanctuary of Sound: Sennheiser’s Experiential Pop-Up

Sennheiser pop-ups in New York and San Francisco

German electronics firm Sennheiser (creator of the location-sensitive audio guides for the David Bowie Is show at London's Victoria & Albert Museum in 2013) unveiled two experiential pop-ups in New York and San Francisco late last month. The shops gave visitors the opportunity to test its audio products via interactive, audio-visual installations.

Dubbed 'Sanctuary of Sound', the retail showrooms – designed in collaboration with UK-based set and interior designer Helen Sirp – were conceived as 'sonic cocoons' (see The Quiet Space for more on this concept) to demonstrate Sennheiser's sonic prowess in the most imaginative and absorbing way possible.

Resembling a recording studio, key aesthetic features included grey, soundproof acoustic wall panelling and, at the centre of the space, headphones from the brand's Momentum and Urbanite lines displayed on illuminated plinths, which were loosely reminiscent of a sound wave. Users could test the headphones by connecting their own smartphone devices to the display, or by listening to specially curated playlists via digital tablets dotted around the store.

Both stores were also fitted with a DJ booth for customers to try, while the New York pop-up – located on the Lower East Side – hosted a number of performances by local musicians. For more on using music as a connective social tool within the retail space, see Music Meets Retail.

Additionally, a window-based interactive installation created by Andreas Muller, London-based designer and founder of technology design studio Nanika, used video and sound to visualise city noises such as cars and pedestrians talking.

Although only temporary, the pop-ups were the brand's first standalone stores in its almost 70 years of trading.

For more on the value of stores as test venues and playful experiential hubs, see Future Stores: Brand Hubs & Product Playgrounds and Experimentation & Co-Creation, part of our Future of the Store Industry Trend.

For more on the key strategies for retailing technology, see Selling Tech, Tech Boutiques and Bang & Olufsen: Audio-Luxe Retail, while Holiday Pop-Ups 2014 and Nomadic Retailing offer the latest info on pop-up retailing.