LEDs light up Nokia flagships
Posted November 13, 2006

For many years, Nokia relied on a worldwide network of in-store shops to sell its mobile phones, and handheld gaming and other high-tech gadgets. Next came its experimental “experience centers,” 200-square-foot shops in high-traffic malls where visitors could try out all of Nokia’s products though they couldn’t actually buy anything.

Then, late last year, the company ratcheted up its retail presence another notch, launching a campaign to open 18 flagship stores in what it describes as the “shopping capitals of the world.” Thus far, that effort has included stores in Chicago, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Moscow and New York.

Those stores are designed to “inspire and educate consumers about the benefits of mobility and to broaden the appeal of the Nokia brand,” says Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and coo. “Whether it is demonstrating our latest multimedia smartphone or assisting consumers with their mobile phone e-mail settings, we want to offer a relaxing, interactive environment for people to experience the power of mobility.”

To turn that vision into a bricks-and-mortar reality, Nokia teamed with Eight Inc., a design consultancy with offices in New York, San Francisco and Honolulu. While the design details of each store vary, all feature the same interactive visual trademark: translucent walls backlit with color-changing LEDs and fronted by a series of LCD screens.

Those screens, in turn, carry modifiable graphic messages and consumer interactions from users trying out the various handsets on display. “When a customer picks up a device, the multimedia screen behind that product changes from being part of a continuous band of full-motion graphics to providing textual and visual information on the specific benefits of that device,” notes Eight Inc. principal Wilhelm Oehl.


Design: Eight Inc., New York, San Francisco, Honolulu 

Photography: Courtesy of Nokia, Espoo, Finland