In New York, Samsung has embarked on an ambitious reimagining of retail.
With Samsung 837, a new branded space located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the Korean tech giant has embarked on a radical project—a retail space that does not stock any Samsung products, and isn’t focused on selling them. Rather than a store, organizers call the 40,000 square foot space an “immersive cultural center.”
“We are creating the flagship of the future,” Zach Overton, vice president and general manager of Samsung 837, said in a release. The space will feature “programming which will tap into people’s passions such art, music, entertainment, sports, wellness, culinary, technology and fashion, all powered and enriched by technology,” he said.
Features of the three-floor space include an auditorium for performances and special events, a broadcast studio, and a gallery featuring curated content experiences, which at the time of launch included “Social Galaxy,” described by the brand as a “hyper immersive and mind-bending exploration of social identity.” Experiential design studio Black Egg created the installation.
The brand also caters to visitors’ stomachs, including a kitchen to demonstrate the latest in Samsung’s home technology, as well as a café with items selected by Smorgasburg, the well-known Brooklyn “flea food market.”
The focus on experiences to the exclusion of products is novel for such a prominent space, but Samsung must have good reason to be optimistic about the strategy: sources including the Commercial Observer have reported that the lease is for 20 years, in one of Manhattan’s priciest areas.
But the location suits the brand’s experiential goals: while the Meatpacking District has plenty of luxury stores, it’s primarily known for its high-end hotels and nightclubs, and as a place where the young, the rich and the hip come to play. As a venue that aims to reach cultural influencers, Samsung 837 is well situated.
For more retail insights, see our forthcoming trend report, Frontier(less) Retail.