Google has opened its first-ever retail store. And it’s one of just a few hundred retail spaces worldwide to achieve the highest credentials in sustainability. It’s a LEED Certified Platinum building.
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side, the first Google retail space “will be a natural extension of our commitment to NYC and provide customers with hands-on interaction with our lineup of devices and services — from Pixel phones and Nest products to Fitbit wearables and Pixelbooks,” reads a blog post by Google’s VP, Hardware Design, UX & Research, Ivy Ross, and Head of Store Design & Special Projects, Nathan Allen.
“As we began the process to create our first retail store, the number of details to consider was daunting, but the opportunity at hand was amazing. We wanted our first store to reflect the same approach we take to designing our products: making sure they’re always helpful to people. The result is a space we believe is warm and inviting, while providing new ways to celebrate and experience Google through our phones, displays, speakers, wearables and more.”
What Is the Google Store?
The new store features a 17-foot-tall circular glass structure near the main entrance called the “Google Imagination Space.”
“With custom interactive screens that feature rotating exhibits for visitors to experience the best of our products and technologies, we’re beginning with an experience built around Google Translate and our machine learning capabilities,” Ross and Allen explain. “As you speak to the exhibit, you’ll experience real-time translation of your speech into 24 languages simultaneously, and then learn how this all happens on the back end using several Google technologies. These same capabilities are also available across many of our devices — right in the palm of your hand.”
The store also features a Nest Gallery Wall, with 35 of the tech giant’s home products; there are Discovery Boxes with information on new products; Sandboxes allow visitors to experience the products in a real-world at-home setting; there are gaming and camera immersion areas; and a workspace where Google plans to hold events.
A Sustainability Example
Google has increased its sustainability commitments. Most recently, it announced updates to its Google Maps service, which will take drivers on the most eco-friendly route. It also launched its first update to Google Earth in more than five years with a time-lapse of the impact of climate change across the globe.
“Sustainability is a core tenet of how Google does business. In addition to our Google-wide sustainability commitments, when it comes to building hardware we’ve made specific commitments to integrate sustainability into our products,” Ross and Allen explain.
“Every element of the Google Store — the materials, building processes, mechanical systems and more — was painstakingly considered and selected. For example, the veneer on the walls is a soft gray responsibly sourced hickory, each lighting fixture is energy efficient and our custom cork and wood furniture was created with a local craftsman from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We even attached our carpeting (which was manufactured with recycled materials) in a sustainable way.”
What Is LEED Certified Platinum Status?
LEED certification — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the most widely recognized standard in “green” building ratings. The third-party rating system works with all building types, including new construction. The rating system focuses on both building efficiency and leadership to emphasize “people, planet, and profit.”
LEED takes a holistic approach to buildings with a “whole building” approach to sustainability. It looks at sustainability measures in all aspects from location and planning to water usage and savings, energy efficiency, construction materials, air quality, and interactions with local and regional environmental issues.
Buildings are rated on a point scale; LEED Certified, the lowest ranking is from 40-49 points; Silver, 50-59 points; Gold 60-79 points; and Platinum at 80 or more points.
Currently, there are fewer than 215 retail buildings in the world to have achieved LEED Platinum status.