Samsung’s new store at Coal Drops Yard (CDY) in King’s Cross is an impressive place to visit and demonstrates the growing trend of ‘temples of technology’ with loads of things to see, do and try out. Its a retail store, cafe, workspace, theatre and a fun palace all rolled into one! The new store, known simply as Samsung KX, opened on 1st August and it can be found at the topmost floor of Coal Drops Yard – those ‘kissing roofs.’ Its a place where one can follow tech passions to their heart’s content.
Those roofs really do kiss dont they? They’re in fact Samsung’s new London venue.
Samsung say their new place isn’t what people think it is. That’s quite true, its a tech playground, a lecture hall, a gallery, a film club, music venue, a catwalk, a school trip, a coffee shop, and more. As if to press the point home a bit more strongly Samsung say ‘It’s not a shop. It’s a place you can #DoWhatYouCant.’
The first impressions coming from the lifts or the stairs.
Its the third Samsung venue of its kind in the world. The others are at Ho Chi Minh City and Frankfurt. Its an experimental slant on what is usually found thus its very different from say, Apple or Microsoft’s stores.
What these hi tech stores aspire to be is light and airy and they are certainly relying on light coloured wood finishes to add to the feel of the place. However each of these tech giants have employed a different theme and even though they have used the concepts of theatres and other genres into the design, Samsung certainly has the most unique venue of the lot.
A VR racing simulator.
For example there’s workshops galore, there’s one to one tutorials, there’s general support and of course you can get your mobile phone fixed here!
Is that all there is to it then? No, that’s it in a nutshell. But there’s lots more!
For a start if any of what I have described so far fails to whet your appetite, there’s one other thing the venue is and that’s an observation gallery of London’s skyline! One can admire the excellent views of London offered through its huge ceiling to floor windows. There’s Coal Drops Yard down below, then there’s King’s Cross, there’s St. Pancras, the Francis Crick Institute, the Telecom Tower, University College Hospital and others.
The venue for an excellent panoramas of London’s skyline, Crick and Telecom structures included.
The store can be reached either by stairs or by lifts and its level throughout which means there are no accessibility problems of any sort. Yet the design of the roofs give it an almost split level feel. Its the curves and angles of this that help to give each section an individual feel.
The other London tech stores are on different levels too but this one is all on the same level which makes an enormous difference. Not forgetting those splendid views I have just mentioned!
There’s one thing which neither Apple or Microsoft in London do not have. And that is one can be on one side of the venue and be able to look out of its windows across to the other side. Its a most unusual setting and the fact one can simply choose to walk round and then be on the other side is what makes it all the more interesting.
The cafe area which is next to the virtual wall.
The Tunnel – Samsung’s virtual graffiti wall!
Spraying away those digital bursts of paint onto the wall.
The cafe/virtual wall area can be converted into a lecture theatre, or even be used for a fashion show or some form of entertainment. Not only that it could too be used for announcements or launching the latest Samsung gadgets.
It has seating that gives the space a sort of amphitheatre feel, and when additional seating is brought in it certainly does feel like a proper theatre. Its very versatile in that respect, and I must add that the entire venue is pretty much like this. Versatile is the word. Now you see why it is not a shop in the traditional sense. Its a space that can be moved around. morphed, and flexed.
Zone for listening to music and relax with a backdrop of London’s skyline on view.
The excellent design of the venue itself comes down to one company, Portview, who I have mentioned briefly in my other Coal Drops Yard posts. I first got to know them when I saw their teams wearing their light blue Portview jackets about the place before it was finished.
Portview have been involved at CDY for a number of years now fitting out some of its stores and restaurants and no doubt the Samsung venue has been their biggest project at CDY todate.
This is a sort of home area, sofa, tables, and a large screen TV for the latest football or music concerts.
Samsung really do sell those huge digital TV screens shown below and they can be bought here among other TVs of different sizes. Just make sure you have enough wall space for one of these!
Another view of the home area. The space can actually be changed to become whatever is required of it.
Its not just televisions, smartphones, computers, touch pads, there are also fridges, cookers and a whole range of other wares that Samsung also manufactures.
Below is the kitchen area, which both works as a showroom for Samsung’s kitchen range, and also as a cooking/food making demonstration venue. Its very smart!
Samsung’s kitchen show area which features its high end range of halogen cookers.
The latest Samsung smartphones ready to be shown off and for, erm, customers or is it visitors… to try out.
There’s one thing that the ‘store’ doesn’t have and its a Galaxy Fold. Had those early review models not encountered numerous problems and been withdrawn we’d no doubt be seeing a section here devoted to the new world of unfolding smartphones (or fold up tablets if one looks at it another way!) In terms of Samsung one will just have to wait for a re-emergence of the Galaxy Fold even though other companies have now moved in with their own designs of folding smartphones.
Samsung’s concept of a futuristic car, a demonstration of what cars could look like in years to come. Its purely just that – a demonstration – its an evolving concept and not something that can be bought.
General view of Samsung’s new multi-purpose venue.
Samsung had previously given Londoners a sort of preview of their new Coal Drops Yard store when a pop-up store was opened for a few days in the Westfield Centre at White City. They had done this on a couple of other occasions but this year’s was the most substantial so far.
They did have a major store in the other Westfield at Stratford. This closed in December 2014. It wasn’t seen as what the company wanted in terms of a high street presence however it said it was fully committed to a British presence.
That is where Coal Drops Yard came in. It had been known for sometime that Samsung would be taking over the topmost floor area, but at times it seemed it wouldn’t happen even though I was reassured several times they would be there, it was just that fitting out the place was somewhat slow.
However a couple of months or so back new CDY maps began to appear with Samsung’s name as the sole occupier of the third floor area, thus this was confirmation it was definitely opening!
The other home area. It can also be an office suite or whatever is desired of the layout. Remember I said the place was versatile? Not even a shop but something well beyond that concept!