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Some things truly deserve the often used adjective disruptive. This pop-up is one of them. With it, and the technology company are turning retail inside out and upside down, presenting a new paradigm in terms of technology and mobility. This prefabricated retail environment is neither fixed in a geographical location nor dedicated to a particular brand. Both off-line and online shopping are offered, too. “I’ve long been fascinated by how the reality of a 3-D place and a 2-D interface collide,” Borruso says. Call it the ultimate smart store.
At the factory, modular components are wired to the hilt with proprietary technology and packed for shipping to the continental U.S., ultimately the world. Retailers lease a version for their desired time period and real estate. Then WithMe’s techies customize the myriad interactive features for the task at hand. Prada, say, could present a collection. Or a fledgling brand could gauge customer reaction, as the debut partners, Toms Shoes and Raven + Lily, did for a month.
One wall is composed of 1,000 stacked white boxes, each fronted by a small monitor. Think of the monitors as individual pixels making up a 35-foot-wide screen for looping high-resolution visuals and lighting effects. The composition is further modified when some of the boxes extend outward to serve as shelving for shoes or to support hangers for clothing.