Guten Tag, Berlin: Why Sonos Opened A Store In Germany’s Hub of Culture and Innovation

Our new retail outpost in Berlin echoes the cultural spirit of the city and showcases the Sonos listening experience—all in 2000 square feet.

When we started thinking about where to open the next Sonos store, Berlin was high on the list. After successfully launching in New York City and London, we knew we needed a find another city that embodies the intersection of creativity and innovation. Few places do that better than Berlin. With its rich legacy across music genres and vibrant art scene, the German capital has become an international cultural mecca. It’s also Europe’s fastest-growing technology hub.

The bleeding edge of sound, creativity, and innovation all in one place? Sounds like our kind of city.

While scouting locations for the store, we naturally gravitated toward the city’s center. Mitte, the neighborhood where we landed, straddles the east and west. “You really get both sides of modern Berlin, where commerce and culture intersect and mix well,” says Whitney Walker, Stores and Retail Experience Manager at Sonos, “You see it with all the different museums and shops there, and that contrasts the shift Mitte takes at night.”

Though not a highly trafficked destination for the city’s famed nightlife, Mitte does boast its own flavor. “You see a little grit come to the surface and can just feel the energy,” Walker says.

Walking in the door at Sonos Berlin, you’ll of course see (and hear) our family of products. The Sonos system is on full display, with products like Sonos One, Playbase, and Sub laid out on the table near the entrance—and you’ll have a chance to hear all of them in our listening rooms. But while we certainly want to acquaint the store’s visitors with our products and share the Sonos listening experience, this space is about so much more than that.

“We’re not just designing a store to sell speakers,” explains Sonos Art Director Julia Jeanguenat. “Of course there’s a retail component, but we really want to create a space where we can host events, spark conversations, bring people together and inspire them to listen out loud,” she says. “It’s really a cultural hub.”

Like our other retail locations, Sonos Berlin will serve as a place for us to host events and highlight creativity and culture through curated installations on the walls of the store. At launch, those walls will feature photographs of David Bowie and tell the story of Bowie’s unique relationship with the city and the influences it had on him as an artist. That narrative will also come alive in our Song Stories: Bowie event on opening night, during which artists like Neu’s Michael Rother, Alison Goldfrap and longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti will share their own stories about the late legend.

We’ll also be hosting a live global broadcast from NTS on April 13 and 14, featuring artists like Brian Eno, Peaches, Alec Empire, Laurel Halo, and many others. Of course, opening week is just the beginning of the cultural calendar at our Berlin store. Stay tuned for plenty more.

The 2000-square-foot Berlin store echoes the neighborhood’s character with a clean, modern design that juxtaposes two vibrant listening rooms.

A Place For Listening—Freely, Deeply, Together

The 2000-square-foot store echoes the neighborhood’s character with a clean, modern design that juxtaposes two vibrant listening rooms. “The same way we thoughtfully design our speakers as conduits for music, TV, et cetera, the store is really there to connect people to the Sonos listening experience,” explains Jeanguenat.

“It’s like the store is a jewel box,” Walker adds. “And the listening rooms are the jewels.”

“You really get both sides of modern Berlin, where commerce and culture intersect and mix well,” says Whitney Walker, Stores and Retail Experience Manager at Sonos, “You see it with all the different museums and shops there, and that contrasts the shift Mitte takes at night.”

To give these jewels their sparkle, we partnered with local artists like Lena Petersen and the art duo known as 44flavours. Petersen, who focuses on more organic subject matter, offered a playful twist on the modern infatuation with plants in the home environment, while 44flavous loosely interpreted rooms of the home with abstract and geometric shapes.

“Their work simultaneously feels like a wallpaper and an art installation,” observes Jeanguenat. “The rooms are unique expressions, but they work together harmoniously in the space.”

To give these jewels their sparkle, we partnered with local artists like Lena Petersen and the art duo known as 44flavours. Petersen, who focuses on more organic subject matter, offered a playful twist on the modern infatuation with plants in the home environment, while 44flavous loosely interpreted rooms of the home with abstract and geometric shapes.

Harmony is key, especially in such a compact space. Unlike our stores in New York and London, which divide the retail and event spaces between two floors, Berlin is a single story. This challenged us to design a more modular space that could transition seamlessly from holistic shopping experience to comfortable venue where we could host events like Song Stories: Bowie—and many more to come.

“Everything is on display and connected,” Walker says. “It’s an easier path to discovery for our visitors.

And that’s really what it’s all about. “Before we had stores, the best place to discover Sonos was a friend’s house,” says Walker. “We’re trying to replicate and evolve that experience. We know the power of listening. It’s just a matter of sharing that with more people.”

At launch, Sonos Berlin will feature photographs of David Bowie and tell the story of Bowie’s unique relationship with the city and the influences it had on him as an artist.

The store opens April 12 at Oranienburger Str. 83, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Tune in to our live broadcast with NTS and learn about upcoming events by checking out our event calendar.

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