Batay-Csorba’s Headfoneshop creates audio-centric retail space
Designed by Batay-Csorba Architects, Headfoneshop is a 300 square foot retail fit out for high-end headphones, earphones, amps and audio accessories. Located on the main floor of a 42-story mixed use tower with direct subway access to Toronto’s Yonge and Sheppard station, the store offers a one-of-a-kind space designed to complement and enhance the audio shopping experience.
The Headfoneshop owner, a passionate audio expert, challenges the typical retail store experience of focusing solely on the product and efficiency of the transaction for maximizing turnover. Instead, the design objective was to celebrate the ritual of listening to music and the process of testing.
The intimate, dark and tactile atmosphere and sense of domestic scale give customers a quiet and lounge—like atmosphere to relax while listening to music. It’s not uncommon for customers to spend several hours pairing systems and listening to music. Dark smoked oak millwork and herringbone flooring, sensuous velvet upholstery, soft amber lighting and patinaed brass fittings create a dark and subdued palette that curate a quiet, moody ambience.
In contrast, 255 powder-coated folded metal panels, secured with 765 patinaed brass screws wrap the ceiling and walls producing a spatially dynamic and immersive space that mimics the intense and enveloping audio experience.
The metal wrapper in one sense is aggressive but the scale and repetition produce a subtle movement and flow. Similarly, the juxtaposition between strength and softness create a composition of emotional tones felt on the body.
While the design strives to affect how a customer feels it also rethinks how the environment can optimize the product. Instead of the product display system being a separate element with the architecture, it dissolves the boundary between object and architecture.
At Headfoneshop, the typical headphone stand was reimagined as a wall display that extended overtop of the visitor and down the opposite wall, enveloping them in the display itself. The bent metal plate allows for display of headphones in multiple configurations, while hiding unsightly wires.