Google’s First Retail Store Is the Anti-Apple

Ivy Ross, the Google designer who conceptualized the space, offers us an inside look

Fast Company
Fast Company
Published in
5 min readJun 18, 2021

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Photo: Google/Paul Warchol

By Elizabeth Segran

Twenty-two years into its existence, Google is finally launching its first brick-and-mortar store tomorrow morning.

Housed on the ground floor of Google’s New York headquarters in Chelsea, the store will be a place to explore and purchase Google’s hardware, including Pixel phones and Nest devices, as well as bring products in for repair. But it will also be a lot more than that, according to Ivy Ross, Google’s VP of hardware design, UX and research, who also served as the creative director of the Google Store. It will be a place for consumers to immerse themselves in Google’s universe and understand how the company sees its technology fitting into our lives. “This space is designed to be a physical expression of what Google stands for,” Ross says.

Photo: Google/Paul Warchol

The store is a 5,000-square-foot space that takes up a full city block, with large windows that dapple the wood floors with sunlight. While many tech stores, including Apple and Tesla, are designed to look futuristic, with a color palette of stark white and metallic gray, the Google Store has a much more natural aesthetic, showcasing furniture and flooring made from pale wood. This was a deliberate choice. “We wanted the space to continue the design principles that radiate from our product,” Ross says. “Our philosophy is that technology must fit into our lives, not stand out. We want this space to feel human because we believe that technology is a tool to amplify our possibilities as humans.”

The space ends up feeling more like an interactive museum or an exploratorium than a retail store. There’s a wall featuring every single product within the Nest family, with the name of the object underneath, like you might see at a natural history museum. In the middle, there’s furniture designed to mimic a particular room of the house, from the children’s playroom to the kitchen, interspersed with Google hardware. And along the windows, there are 18 “discovery boxes” featuring 3D…

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Fast Company
Fast Company

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