By Mathias Caspersen
How do you give people a sense of magic today? What is a celebrated home entertainment producer to do, now that we have all become empowered users of smartphones and tablets? Can consumers still be wowed in this day and age? The answers become crystal clear when you visit one of Bang & Olufsen’s newly designed stores, which offer a compelling realisation of the company slogan: “Bang & Olufsen exists to move you with enduring magical experiences.” Here Bang & Olufsen products have been given the store ambiance they deserve – and more. Nonetheless, what is by no means apparent when you visit the stores is that the concept was created by a designer whose childhood home was the Thy Camp, a hippie community in North Jutland.
Bang & Olufsen’s new store concept is the brainchild of creative designer Johannes Torpe, who grew up in a time when the brand had become a Danish household name. To him there is a clear connection between his very first Bang & Olufsen design experience as a five-year-old boy – a BeoMaster 1900 – to the new BeoVision Avant TV. “Bang & Olufsen has never been afraid to take chances and think radically different. The eternal mission to find the perfect interplay between sound and design has led to groundbreaking new products and a unique position in the minds of the Danes as well as design lovers worldwide,” explains Torpe. With BeoVision Avant this is reflected in the way the television is tailored to the way we live with TVs today. It’s not just a television set but a veritable cockpit that controls all your home entertainment. And, of course, the sound and design is unbeatable.
The experience comes first
The soul and 89-year Bang & Olufsen corporate history not only come into play with their products. Bold vision and innovation also took centre stage when Torpe and his team designed the new flagship stores. Established interior design dogma and the entrenched Nordic design ethos have been overturned. Here bright, clean-lined ambiances and touch screen environments most often seen in home entertainment store concepts have been replaced by luxurious warm-hued ambiances. The focus is on the experience the products offer their users rather than on the technology itself. This has required new approaches – and a whole army of industry robots.
Richness and resolve
Although there are no visible cables or gizmos in the new Bang & Olufsen stores they are technological powerhouses, nonetheless. They feature walls clad with sound-absorbing foam and silently revolving display plinths operated by industrial robots, the only mechanisms that are precise enough for the job. The choice of materials for the interiors is a far cry from the brightness and lightness of contemporary Scandinavian designs. With smoked oak flooring and brass fittings, the detailing is unique and the overall concept one of richness and resolve. Here, visitors are in for a total experience. You can sink into a sofa and enjoy moments of sublime perfection – and we’re still only talking about the physical environment.
Towards the Kongens Nytorv end of Copenhagen’s main pedestrian street, Strøget, you find the first Bang & Olufsen flagship store to have introduced the new concept. Here you will experience the other twin aspect of what makes the total experience unique: the highly competent and friendly service. The mantra is that employees are there to sell solutions rather than products. Bang & Olufsen offers far more than a mere range of television sets and speakers; they extend the opportunity to tailor your solutions to taste. In short, this is no regular 9-5 salesroom with countertop and cash register. Bang & Olufsen staff will be glad to open the store during off-hours and the back room is designed to offer a leisurely setup to help you find just the right home entertainment solution.
Magic for all ages
You don’t necessarily need to be on the lookout for a total solution to be welcomed with a smile and offered a cup of coffee. Even 10-year-old boys can drop by Østergade No. 18 and enjoy a full demonstration of this potent equipment. Here everyone is welcome to experience the magic.