SAMSUNG EXPERIENCE STORE | CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto
Alula Lighting lighting, lighting design
Holman Exhibits fixture contractor
Quadrangle architect, design
Samsung Electronics Canada Ltd. retailer
Structure Corp. GC
PHOTOS: ADRIEN WILLIAMS, BOB GUNDU
FIXTURE OF THE YEAR
SILVER AWARD: Hardline Specialty Store 7,501-25,000 sf
At nearly 21,000 sq. ft., Samsung’s flagship is the South Korea-based consumer electronics brand’s largest location in Canada. The new concept, opened in January 2018, is one of few places that offers the entire family of Samsung products including smartphones, headphones, tablets, smart watches, televisions, refrigerators, washer/dryers, ovens, and dishwashers. The intent was to provide a memorable experience to customers, showcase the Samsung brand as a leader in design, and demonstrate the interconnectedness of all Galaxy products — all within a fluid and open space that feels more like a showroom than a sales-based retail store.
Inside and out, the elements of the flagship’s design are anchored by the idea of “infinity,” flowing harmoniously with no visible end point. A curving black metal ribbon flows over the exterior storefront and through the entrance canopy, wrapping around two-story window walls and each entrance in a continuous infinity loop. Within the undulating black metal ribbon, large glazed areas with glass panes up to 20 ft. long make store interiors highly visible both from the street and from the mall interior.
Just inside the entry, a dramatic 60,000-lb. curved stairway unites the store’s two floors, which were originally unconnected retail units. The stairway was shipped in seven pieces and welded on site. The staircase, which was installed as one continuous curve, rests on a single point.
Against a muted background of monochromatic matte gray, the brand’s glowing technologies are displayed on one-of-a-kind custom fixtures. Like everything else in the space, the product display tables, wall display units, POS service counters, and the Personalization Zone recall the curves of Samsung products. A round, avocado-shaped table of white solid surface incorporates glowing screen technologies into its surface. Point-of-sale and customer service areas take the form of circular pods with no hard edges. Deeply beveled white solid-surface tops float on top of wood veneer loop bases to form display tables. A similarly styled white solid-surface counter rests on a wood-veneered loop base in the fully functioning demonstration kitchen; stools are simple loops. Black display pedestals with rounded edges resemble Samsung products brought to life. (The Staron solid-surface material also has a Samsung connection. It is the product of a former Samsung division that merged with Lotte Chemical in 2016.)
Virtually every part of the store is a potential demonstration area, making it possible for Samsung to offer events from smartphone photography and videography tutorials to cooking demos with celebrity chefs. The second floor doubles as an event space, so fixtures and furnishings were designed to be flexible and easily moved.
Lighting design was critical to the merchandising strategy. With the intent to evenly illuminate surfaces rather than the floor, light is evenly cast three to four feet from the ground to prevent hot spots and dark areas on fixture surfaces.
Since most of the company’s products incorporate bright, colorful screens, designers created a space that glows more than shines. Throughout the store, LED lighting at 3000K creates a warm, inviting environment. Recessed flexible LED linear strips wrap to illuminate the curves of walls, columns, and the staircase. Individual custom lighting elements draw the eye to specific design elements. Recessed cove lighting frames Samsung’s Frame televisions. Downlighting softly illuminates the warm wood of the grand curved staircase. Featured phone cases are lit up like artwork in inside individual display boxes.
Because the store is located in a landmark location at the main entrance to Toronto’s Eaton Centre, the store had to compete with the bright electronic signage of Yonge-Dundas Square. The Samsung Experience Store offers shoppers a tranquil respite through deep views into the space of soft lighting and muted grays.