In the past five years, Wired has used its annual store to highlight the latest trends in technology and gadgets in a showroomlike setting. But for this year's incarnation, the magazine wanted to tweak the formula and create a more interactive environment that would draw a broader crowd of shoppers. Spread across three floors of the old Tower Records store on Broadway and West 4th Street, the pop-up takes on a gallery-style format. The more than 200 items on display are categorized by seven personality types of Wired's readers.
“We were really excited about the changes this year. Our goal was to create an experiential gallery with social aspects to it that mirrored the impact of social media. The store has so many sources of engagement in the products and integrations, particularly Buick's Regal Experience, Columbia Sportswear's 'omni-heat' freezer, and Kohler's Flipside karaoke shower,” said Maya Draisin, Wired's associate publisher for marketing. “This year, we organized products around the different personalities who read Wired—'adventure capitalist,' 'culturazzi,' 'digital gentleman,' 'gadget girl,' 'gastronaut,' 'maker,' and 'smart upstarter.' We also focused on the inclusion of the artistic [with work from] Chris Milk, 3rd Ward and Joshua Kirsch, DNA 11 and CanvasPop, and Tinkr.”
Produced for the second year by EventQuest, the gallery-style shop is marked by a number of white, freestanding walls. In the front of the main floor, key sponsors like Buick and Zync from American Express have prime placement, while Toshiba's LED HDTVs, Cisco's Umi telepresence setup, and other home entertainment products give the upstairs section a living-room vibe. The lower level is more of a gaming lounge, with a foosball table from Ford & Ching, Puma's chalkboard-surfaced ping-pong table, and Sony PlayStation's motion controller.
Sprinkled throughout is the artwork, which includes 3rd Ward's exhibition of “Sympathetic Resonance” by Joshua Kirsch, a sculpture-cum-musical instrument comprised of yarn-wound mallets connected to the touch-sensitive aluminum keys of a marimba, and Chris Milk's “Wilderness Machine,” a device that prints postcards of messages sent to a Web site.
As an additional social element, the store plays host to events open to the public, such as Sunday football-watching with beer from Sixpoint brewery, a family day hosted by Wired's GeekDad blog, and Braun's mustache shaving event.