Austin, TX – August 17, 2009: Today the storied Danish high-end A/V manufacturer Bang & Olufsen opened its 50th North American showroom in the form of a new A/V boutique located in Austin, TX—a city that prides itself on being the live music capitol of the U.S. The new Austin facility is one of three B&O specialty stores in Texas (the other two are located in Dallas and Houston); all three are owned and operated by 1818 Retail Opportunities, LLC.
The new 1168 sq./ft. store is located at 217 W. 2nd Street in Austin, and takes its place in that city’s thriving 2nd Street district. Like all B&O stores, and very much by design, the new Austin shop looks less like a traditional “A/V store” and more like a gallery displaying varied samples of modern Scandinavian industrial art. After all, deceptively simple yet highly innovative and functional industrial design touches have been a Bang & Olufsen hallmark for decades and are an intrinsic part of the brand’s appeal. B&O components are invariably beautiful to look at and often incorporate unexpected, sometimes even whimsical, user interface designs that make the components look and feel responsive and fun to use.
Once inside the B&O’s new Austin store, visitors are treated to demonstrations of what a B&O press release terms “…the BeoLiving concept—Bang & Olufsen’s solution to providing customized audio and video products that connects lighting, draperies, and various environmental control modules to suit each customer’s lifestyle all with the touch of one remote control.”
Austin store manager Matthew Jurgensen gave AVguide/Playback a brief tour of the newly opened facility. A large front room presents displays of various B&O audio, A/V and telecom systems and components, all with an underlying theme of integration. Using B&O remote controls, telecom products, and A/V components, for example, it would be possible, to control and integrate all home lighting, HVAC, telephone, and home entertainment systems. Interestingly, a slogan on the sidewall reads, “…made to be seen, heard, and experienced.”
Saving the best for last, though, Jurgensen showed us the store’s back room showcasing B&O’s flagship home theater system, which is based on the famous BeoLab 5 self-powered floorstanding loudspeakers plus a B&O 65-inch plasma TV with a built in and, of course, fully integrated, A/V controller/receiver. The demo system in Austin is configured such that visitors can enjoy the superb plasma display or, at the push of a button, draw a set of light-blocking curtains, dim the room lights, lower a projector from a concealed chamber in the ceiling, and drop down a 103-inch screen for an even bigger wide-screen viewing experience. Most impressive, and a feast for the eyes (and ears).
According to a B&O press release, "A grand opening customer event honoring the new store will take place this fall 2009." The release goes on to say that, "The grand opening event this fall will be a cocktail reception open to new Bang & Olufsen customers in the Austin area. For more information on the event and to RSVP, guests can call the store directly at (512) 481-1818."
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