Global sportswear brand Puma’s (Herzogenaurach, Germany) new store on Fifth Avenue opened this past August in one of the fastest-paced cities in the world; New York is arguably a fitting location for a brand that encourages its customers to “run the streets.” The store itself is breathtaking: punchy and tech-driven. Shoppers walk through its doors surrounded by frontage that’s based on the sole of the original Puma sneaker, into a cavernous space that’s punctuated with art installations and product displays.
Within this interactive retail space is what’s reported to be an industry-first installation and the highlight of the store: a multi-sport “Skill Cube,” created by design studio Green Room (Birmingham, U.K.). “We wanted to create an authentic experience of using Puma products – one that was multisensory and utterly immersive,” says Jamie Mac, Design Director at Green Room. “We wanted it to have a meaningful purpose, without using virtual or augmented reality.”
The Cube, constructed with tempered glass and 270-degree, floor-to-ceiling LCD screens, encourages customers to step inside for a coaching session with brand ambassadors and heroes of sport: Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton as well as soccer stars Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku.
Inside, the environment is multisensory, with surround sound, motion sensors, graphic projection and dynamic lighting intended for total immersion. Synthetic turf flooring replicates trial conditions to showcase the benefits of the apparel and footwear on sale in a real-world scenario. Players take part in a “teamsport experience,” in soccer or motorsports, in a virtual stadium or unused warehouse, reconstructed in unbelievable detail, to test their skills. After the session, players can see their scores displayed on a digital leaderboard outside the Cube, creating a sense of competition between friends and strangers alike.
This is the next level of customer interaction with a brand: disrupting passive browsing and creating an authentic product trial while still in store. This is Puma proving that it’s running faster than the competition when it comes to experiential shopping that sells.
Video: Courtesy of Joseph Reed/Shawmut Design and Construction
Green Room, Birmingham, U.K.
Design Republic, New York
Shawmut Design and Construction, New York
Puma, Herzogenaurach, Germany
Photography: Courtesy of Puma, Herzogenaurach, Germany