Don’t call it a store! Samsung wants its NYC flagship to be a ‘cultural hub’

For geeks and creatives, the newest tourist destination in New York City comes from a familiar name: Samsung.

In the heart of one of Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods, the Meatpacking District – across from the popular elevated park, the High Line, and surrounded by high-fashion boutiques – is a massive, multi-story space called Samsung 837 (named after its address, 837 Washington Street). While there are plenty of Samsung products to be found, the electronics giant has another goal.

Samsung 837 is billed as a digital playground and culture epicenter that’s open to the public. There is an auditorium with a stage for hosting events such as concerts, and lectures. Behind the stage, a giant digital screen, composed of 96 55-inch displays, is used for special screenings, such as films or the recent Oscar-viewing party; for other times, visitors can have their selfies taken with a nearby camera and have them displayed on the screen.

“People don’t need another store. We are trying to build the flagship of the future.”

On the main floor, an art gallery features rotating digital installations; the current exhibit, called Social Galaxy, is a visual-aural experience that brings your Instagram feed alive, on a multitude of Samsung monitors and tablets. On the top floor, a connected living room demonstrates how a smart home works, while a full kitchen is available for cooking demonstrations and classes. There is even a small café where guests can purchase food and drink.

The one thing Samsung employees are quick to correct you on is that Samsung 837 isn’t a store, despite the various phones, tablets, VR headsets, televisions, watches, and appliances that are on display. Nothing is for sale, although employees will gladly help you purchase an item through one of its resellers. Besides being a community space of sorts, Samsung 837 is also the company’s “marketing center of excellence.” You could call it whatever you want, but ultimately Samsung 837 is a retail exercise.

Samsung 837 isn’t the company’s first foray into brick-and-mortar retail, but it is one of its more ambitious. It draws influences from its neighbor a block away, a prominent Apple Store. For instance, it has a service station similar to Apple’s Genius Bar. As Apple has successfully demonstrated, retail stores can be community-gathering places.

But Samsung 837 takes it to the next level. Instead of drawing people in with product, Samsung 837 seemingly focuses on the activity first, and then how its products could be used in those environments – from experiencing virtual reality through Galaxy VR headsets to cooking a meal on Samsung ranges and comparing selfie image quality through a showdown between Samsung’s new Galaxy S7 phone and the competition. Zach Overton, the VP and General Manager of Samsung 837, says the space was designed around eight passion points: art, music, entertainment, sports, wellness, culinary, technology, and fashion. Every section of the building focuses on these topics.

“People don’t need another store,” Overton says. “We are trying to build the flagship of the future.”

What we find appealing is the notion of the building as creative space that’s open to all.

With that approach, Samsung’s latest retail venture becomes a must-see destination, even if you don’t use its products. It’s a place where you can be the first to sample the latest tech before it goes mainstream. The modern facility, developed by the firm Wonderwall and Samsung’s in-house design team, is decked out with dark, mid-century-style (albeit overly masculine) furnishings, and is a relaxing respite in a frequently busy neighborhood. It is fun to put on VR goggles, settle into a comfy chair, and get lost for a few minutes.

What we find appealing is the notion of the building as creative space that’s open to all. Besides product demos, Samsung 837 has pro-quality equipment and studios for editing video and audio, and high-end appliances for creating restaurant-quality meals. These tools and services allow people to create things like podcasts or YouTube videos, giving them access to things they might not have on a regular basis (or at all).

However, we’ve seen similar retail concepts in the past, only to see them fail or turn into something that wasn’t intended. If Samsung 837 succeeds in truly becoming a cultural hub, as designed, and function more as a community center than store, it could be a city landmark worth taking visiting friends and family to.


Verizon’s deal could get you a free iPhone XR — but there’s some fine print

Verizon launched a new deal for its smartphones aimed at encouraging customers to open a new line. If you're willing and you want two new phones, you could get a free Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone XR, or Pixel 3.

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.

Samsung rumored to mark 10 years of the Galaxy S line with a 5G model

Samsung is rumored to launch a 5G version of the Galaxy S10, called the Galaxy S10 X. The phone may be larger than the standard Galaxy S10 devices, and feature a very impressive specification sheet.

The Samsung Galaxy M series will be the first with an Infinity-V display

Samsung announced a range of displays at the Samsung Developer Conference and now we have an idea of when to expect the first with an Infinity-V display. The Samsung Galaxy M10, M20, and M30 are being teased by Samsung India.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Emerging Tech

Scientists successfully grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish

Researchers have managed to grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish for the first time, and even to successfully implant them into live mice. The results could be a game-changer for diabetes.
Emerging Tech

Tiny animals discovered in Antarctic lake deep beneath the ice

Scientists have made a surprising discovery in Antarctica: the carcasses of tiny animals including crustaceans and a tardigrade were found in a lake that sits deep beneath over half a mile of Antarctic ice.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Emerging Tech

Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human body

Tiny robots modeled after bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to hard to reach areas of the human body. Scientists have developed elastic microbots that can change their shape depending on their environment.
Emerging Tech

Dinosaurs never stood a chance after asteroid impacts doubled 290M years ago

The number of asteroids pummeling Earth jumped dramatically around 290 million years ago. By looking at Moon craters, scientists discovered that d the number of asteroid impacts on both Earth and the Moon increased by two to three times.