Sonos has opened a new retail location in New York City, with integrators Rethink Innovations creating a 30ft fireplace display in the downstairs lounge area using FLEXLite LED video technology from PixelFLEX.
“Our objective for the Sonos flagship retail location was to build the best place for someone to discover and fall in love with whole home audio,” stated Whitney Walker, general manager of stores. “While that may seem simple, it’s really not because the level of education people have with the product varies widely, so we had to achieve the highest standard for product demonstrations. In the store there are seven different home-like listening rooms and a lounge downstairs where we wanted a warm, gallery-like setting. In the lounge, we needed a design feature that would enhance the space and give it a relaxing vibe. We found our solution in a LED videowall fireplace that adds dynamism and warmth to the store.”
FLEXLite LED is claimed to be one of the highest resolution and curve-able LED displays on the market, capable of a 15° curve in any direction. With its bright, dense display and high refresh rate, FLEXLite LED video tiles are calibrated directly out of the box to help decrease failure and insure perfect colour and brightness.
Walker continued: “The original design sketches had an actual gas fireplace but the feature needed to be behind a glass enclosure so the solution quickly switched to LED video. From previous work, we knew Rethink Innovations had experience in this area of design so we reached out to them and began building a full scale prototype of the store out in California.”
“After meeting with the team at Sonos we knew they wanted to create a unique and cohesive LED video experience, but we had to be aware of heat-load issues based upon how the system would be installed,” explained Eric Christoffersen, managing partner Rethink Innovations. “When we started to look at what technology would make the design a success, we knew that if we turned the FLEXLite LED panels 90° we could achieve the linear fireplace experience with no separation of the content and no heat issues whatsoever. To do this, we used eight of the FLEXLite LED video panels to create the immense 30ft fireplace and it looks great.”
Walker added: “While we were building the design prototype, we were looking at a few LED manufacturers, and PixelFLEX actually sent demo gear and a technician to show us what their technology could do. That really was the deciding factor. They genuinely seemed to care about the retail design experience, and their willingness to work within our design process was exceptional.”
“We knew it would be a little tricky to connect the LED panels together because there was no rear access to the unit,” explained Christoffersen. “To gain access, we had to cut small openings behind the wall to slip our arms through which allowed us to then quickly tie the panels together. For the content, we then used the BrightSign player, which was running the other visual displays throughout the store and a PixelFLEX SU401 sending unit to easily load the fire onto the LED wall. Working with a PixelFLEX engineer, I was then able to fine tweak the final display and the system works great.”
Walker commented: “In retail it is often difficult to get customers to move from the ground floor to a second level, and I am surprised at how many people want to visit the downstairs lounge. We were initially worried that it may not get the foot traffic to justify the expenditure, but on the contrary it has been a wonderful success with the LED fireplace being a visually engaging finishing accent that helps us convey the experience of a Sonos whole-home audio lifestyle.”