On Wednesday evening, luxury audio specialist Bang & Olufsen hosted an exclusive opening of their London flagship showroom in Hanover Square.
The Danish Bang & Olufsen products are aimed at high networth individuals, so it seems right that the new showroom sits in the heart of Mayfair. In Denmark, there is a whole factory that designs stores.
Tue Mantoni, CEO at Bang & Olufsen, flew in at 10am on Wednesday morning, to deliver a brief speech to a packed room, outlining his excitement for the new store. His was followed by another short speech, this time from Steve Devonshire, Training Manager at Bang & Olufsen, who introduced one of the brand‘s latest products: Moment.
The Moment is a smart music player which integrates music collections and cloud playlists, together with an AI can learn listener tastes, activated by a touch-sensitive oak panel or, on the other side, a circular controller that associates colors and distance from its centre, with mood and song familiarity.
Both gentlemen didn‘t need to say much, as the products speak for themselves.
The new Bang & Olufsen showroom has a section with an 85” TV fitted on the wall (£16,595) and, of course, sensational surround sound, but where one minute you are in a living room-like atmosphere, a turn around the corner will have you feeling like you‘re in a nightclub.
Against a backdrop of house music, slick audio equipment was showcased, on the floor, on the walls, on a windowsill – all in a space designed by international designer Eric Kuster.
Retail Gazette managed to speak with Tue Mantoni for a matter of minutes, who is charismatic and dressed in a Canali suit.
Mantoni turns 40 next week and boasts more than an impressive CV (he was CEO of British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph by the time he was 30, and a former McKinsey consultant) and is based in Denmark for most of his time. He will be flying home within 24 hours of landing in London, where he simply “must attend the weekly product meeting.”
“We just want people to have a good time,” Mantoni says. “When you work in a tech company, the rhythm is very fast. This shop is so important because it‘s an opportunity to show technology and give good service. Perhaps we would get the customer a glass of champagne as we show them an audio system, and then maybe we can get the interior designer over.”
He continues: “Sometimes, I sit in my office surrounded by spreadsheets, but all you have to do is go to the factory and see people building these amazing products with their hands, creating great experiences, and you start to understand why we exist, suddenly all the spreadsheets and power points have a meaning.
Even when the products aren‘t on, if you see them in a home, you know that the owner cares about design and quality.”
He points at a Beovision TV, “If you buy this product, it will last you 25 years. If you were to see a problem within 25 years, bring it to us and we will give you money. Tell me another technology company that will do this?
There is exclusivity here with Bang & Olufsen,” concludes Mantoni. “These products aren‘t mass produced and a lot of people who have been in the company have been with us for 30 to 40 years.”