Dezeen Magazine

Exterior view of Google Store

Google opens first physical retail space in NYC by Reddymade

Google has opened its first physical retail space in New York's Chelsea, designed by architecture studio Reddymade to include cork furniture and recycled materials.

Welcoming its first visitors on 17 June 2021, Google Store occupies a ground-floor space in the former Port Authority Building – a vast art deco structure that is home to the tech company's NYC headquarters.

Google Store windows
The large windows of the first Google Store look out onto Ninth Avenue in Chelsea

Located on the corner of 15th Street and Ninth Avenue, the store's glazed facade looks onto the entrance of the popular Chelsea Market situated opposite.

Architect Suchi Reddy of Reddymade worked with Ivy Ross, VP of design, UX and research for Google Hardware, to create a retail experience based on their collaboration during Milan's Salone del Mobile in 2019.

Google Store interior
Google Store's interior features warm materials and lighting

Elements of the exhibition, A Space For Being, including the core principles of neuroaesthetics – a branch of science that examines how visual aesthetics can impact our bodies and minds – informed the design of the store.

Warm and tactile materials like wood panelling, and cork furniture by Daniel Michalik, were chosen to create an inviting mood in the main area. "Reddymade's design puts the visitor at ease, welcoming those seeking help alongside those pursuing their curiosity," said a statement on behalf of the studio.

Seating in Google Store
Cork furniture by Daniel Michalik is dotted around the space

At the entrance, tubes of extruded glass are suspended between the floor and ceiling to form the Imagination Space, where visitors are invited to interact with Google products and technologies via a series of screens.

The intention is to "re-awaken visitors to the childlike wonder found in the technology and digital innovation on display", the statement said.

Around the store, a thin black metal line traces a fluid path, drawing the eye between the various product displays.

A central circular counter that acts as a support desk has a neon halo, spelling out "Here to help" multiple times in a ring.

Casual seating at Google Store
Casual seating is provided for customers seeking product support

Casual seating in the form of benches, poufs and stools can be used by shoppers and those seeking product advice or assistance.

In the windows, illuminated "discovery boxes" showcase Google products and allow passersby to interact with them using augmented reality technology.

Imagination Space
The Imagination Space creates an enclosed area for shoppers to experience Google products and technologies

Many of the materials across the Google Store were selected for their sustainable credentials, enabling the project to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Among these are flooring made from 100 per cent recycled factory waste by Swedish company Bolon, and acoustic panels with a felt-like finish made from 100 per cent PET plastic, and containing at least 60 per cent post-consumer content, by US manufacturer Kirei.

Window boxes from the exterior
Discovery Boxes in the Google Store windows allow passersby to interact using augmented reality technology

Ross spoke to Dezeen in 2019 about how companies like Google "have an obligation" to be more sustainable.

She is also responsible for the creation of the Google Design Lab at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters, as well as the expansion of its hardware line, which she has overseen since 2016.

Photography is by Paul Warchol, courtesy of Google.

Project credits:

Architect: Reddymade
Reddymade team: Sally Leung, Suha Samara, Megan O'Brien, Tim Liu, Ezra Wu, Morgane Dugas, David Cook
Contractor: Michilli
MEP engineer: Rosini Engineering
Structural engineer: Stratford Engineering
Accessibility and LEED consultant: Steven Winters Associates
Lighting designer: Reveal Design Group
Acoustic consultant: Lally Acoustical Consulting
Expeditor: Ganci & Logozzo
Millwork/fabricator: Bednark Studio
Millwork: Viridis
Glass fabricator (Magic Space): AMG Glass Technik
Cork furniture: Daniel Michalik
Furniture dealer: EvensonBest
Upholstery: The Work Room
Neon: Let There Be Neon