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On Saturday, Nokia unveiled a flagship story in New York on 57th St. and 5th Ave. It’s the Finnish cell phone manufacturer’s second flagship store in the U.S.; the first is in Chicago. The NYC store’s narrow storefront, now entirely blue, is a choice piece of real estate sandwiched between the Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent stores. It is just a few blocks away from the southeast corner of Central Park, the Plaza Hotel (now condominiums), Bergdorf Goodman, and the Apple flagship store that opened in May.
The interior of the three-story Nokia store looks more like a chic nightclub than a retailer. The luminescent walls change colors in sync with a soundtrack and the visual effect is supplemented by two rows of TV screens on each wall. In a matter of minutes, the chameleonic atmosphere can shift from meditative–with soft green walls, forests scenes on the TVs, and the sound of crickets chirping–to high-energy with red walls and a thumping techno beat. Translucent staircases add to the store’s futuristic look.
The first floor of the NYC Nokia store showcases the company’s selection of cell phones. In the foreground here is the display for the Nokia 8801, a skinny metallic GSM handset that comes with a music player, FM radio tuner and photo/video camera.
The second floor of the store is devoted to Nokia’s N-Series, which include high-end handsets with an emphasis on media-sharing capabilities. Peripheral devices, like headphones and photo printers, are also on display. Here, a customer checks out some N-Series phones.
Animation plays on the row of video screens that adorn the Nokia store’s first- and second-floor walls. This is a look at a few of the devices that are part of the N-Series line.
Prospective buyers have a look at Nokia’s N-Series line. The walls of the store, meanwhile, have turned to an intense reddish orange.
The tiny, third story of Nokia’s flagship store is the Vertu Lounge. Resembling a jewelry boutique, the Vertu Lounge is home to the company’s swankiest cell phones, some of which retail for more than $30,000.
Some cell phone owners complain that their handsets are too skinny; likewise, this reporter’s only real gripe with the Nokia flagship store was that it’s too narrow for comfort. When the store is crowded, mobility is pretty limited and it’s hard to get a good look at the phones. The store is pretty, and the atmosphere is worth a look, but efficiency lags behind.