- Article by Natalie Mortimer
Designed by Batay-Csorba Architects this high-end headphones, earphones and amps store in Toronto has an intimate, dark and tactile atmosphere.
Headfoneshop is located on the main floor of a 42 story mixed-use tower with direct subway access to Toronto’s Yonge and Sheppard station. The owner, a passionate audio expert, wanted to challenge the typical retail store experience of focusing solely on the product and a quick transaction to maximise 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,” explains Andrew Batay-Csorba, founding partner, Batay-Csorba Architects. “It’s not uncommon for customers to spend several hours pairing systems and listening to music.”
The shop’s subdued palette is formed through dark, smoked oak millwork and herringbone flooring, velvet upholstery, soft amber lighting and patinaed brass fittings creating a quiet, moody ambience.
In contrast, 255 powder-coated folded metal panels, secured with 765 patinaed brass screws wrap the ceiling and walls producing an immersive space that mimics the enveloping audio experience.
“The metal wrapper in one sense is aggressive but the scale and repetition produce a subtle movement and flow,” says Batay-Csorba.
“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.”
The typical headphone stand was reimagined as a wall display that extends over the top of the visitor and down the opposite wall, enveloping them in the display itself.
The bent metal plate allows for the display of headphones in multiple configurations while hiding unsightly wires.
Photography by Younes Bounhar