Case Study: Creating a new audio experience inside Louis Vuitton stores

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    Case Study: Creating a new audio experience inside Louis Vuitton stores

    Ahead of Hotel Designs LIVE, which will focus the conversation around sensory design in one session, the hotel design community can take inspiration from how Louis Vuitton created a new experience, using audio software, to enhance the overall shopping journey in its stories globally…

    The chic new Louis Vuitton boutiques opening in major cities around the world are centrally designed with great care for an experience that is carefully controlled. From the dress of the staff to the warm and welcoming ambiance that touches all the senses, everything is considered, including the music. The décor is minimalistic and neutral to showcase their elegant products. When it came to the sound component of the experience, the designers looked no further than to the renowned architectural audio company, Sonance.

    Image credit: Louis Vuitton

    The Challenge

    To achieve a seamless sonic palette without any visual product cues. The designers wanted the merchandise to be featured above all else, with the audio blending in effortlessly – unnoticed and yet adding to the overall aesthetics of the space.

    Project Requirements

    • Audio environment that is seamless, understated, and supports the overall ambience of the retail space
    • Speakers need to deliver even coverage throughout the environment
    • Speakers should be invisible to the eye and be easily installed in various construction types throughout the world

    Professional audio integration is more than merely specifying speakers that can adequately fill a room with music. It’s a tangible design element and a critical part of the space’s environment that is meant to create a mood, elevate the senses and not distract from the designer’s vision and aesthetic goals. For 30 years, the architectural speaker pioneers at Sonance have continually explored and refined the fine art of musical fidelity within a designed space, with their series of award-winning in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. This includes the revolutionary Invisible Series, which has captured the imagination of designers the world over. In a clean, simple environment that acts as a backdrop to the LV product line, audio had to flow from one zone to another. What separates Sonance from other architectural speaker companies is that they understand and communicate in the language of design and realize the importance of offering multiple solutions that perform consistently and appeal to a wide range of aesthetic initiatives.

    Their Invisible Series provides a sonic and visual experience that inspires and engages interior designers and their clients immediately, as music radiates from the wall or ceiling as if by magic. It is an important component in a carefully orchestrated ambience immersion.

    “As quality in-store music is an important part of the retail experience, Sonance Invisible Series Loudspeakers allow us to achieve this without compromising the store design,” said Stephen Kim, Managing Director, Stephen Kim & Associates Ltd.

    The Louis Vuitton Store Design and Project Manager said: “In writing the specification, I had to be totally confident that the speakers that were selected could be utilized wherever there was a Louis Vuitton project around the world. The shallow mounting depth and the flexible installation options of Sonance Invisible Series makes them compatible with the various construction methods and codes we have to deal with globally.”

    Ken O’Byrne, Managing Director and Audio Visual Designer, CTS, added: “Achieving this global compatibility and installation flexibility was a key objective for Sonance as it embarked on the task of designing a range of invisible speakers that would set a new benchmark for the category. Sonance Invisible Series speakers are featured in many global retail fashion palaces, including Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, Dior and Fendi. Their unique aesthetic properties and legendary reliability are critically important to system specifiers. Equally, they are ‘engineered to a result’, which translates to high quality audio and consistent coverage throughout the space, an element that is critical when creating a seamless retail experience.”

    Sonance Motion Flex Invisible Speakers

    Two years of research into the physics of flat diaphragms has allowed Sonance engineers to develop a completely invisible speaker design that reproduces the sound quality of a visible speaker. Through proprietary test and measurement processes the team at Sonance has refined the ideal marriage of aesthetics and acoustics to overcome the ultimate custom speaker challenge, fulfilling the promise that began in 1983 with the world’s first in-wall speaker.

    Discreet Full Fidelity Sound

    In traditional invisible speaker design, multiple drive units excite the same flat radiating surface, but there’s nothing to stop waves from one e driver rippling outwards to interfere with those of other drivers. In a breakthrough for invisible speaker sound quality, Sonance has found a way to isolate discrete wave patterns on a single diaphragm. This means that the Motion Flex invisibles restore the full range sound and detail of a visible speaker but seamlessly disappear from view, leaving the environment intact, which is exactly what Louis Vuitton and other luxury retailers are seeking. Another advantage is that due to their full fidelity, systems of  Motion Flex speakers be played at lower volume levels, producing noticeable high-quality detail without intruding on conversations.

    Sonance is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

    Main image credit: Sonance/Louis Vuitton

    Hamish Kilburn / 12.07.2021


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