This year's Wired Store has moved to Times Square. The 7th annual holiday pop up store for Wired magazine as usual features tech that we love, as well as introduces us to some new things that we had never seen outside of our computer screens. The store this year is larger than ever with over 10,000 square feet and is designed like a gallery for gadget geeks with a wide variety of devices and gear that appeal to many. In NYC and stumped on gift ideas for the tech aficionado in your life? Stroll on by the Wired Store.
Like last year, this year's Wired Store is arranged by persona. Wired has used the same 7 profiles as last year (with a name change of Gadget Girl to It Girl) and curated items to match each persona: Digital Gentleman, It Girl, Gastronaut, Smarter Upstarter, Adventure Capitalist, Maker, and Culturazzi. Just like last year, we were drawn to Digital Gentleman, and unlike last year, we also loved Smarter Upstarter for the sleek combination of tech + design they used for this persona.
Instead of green and toy sections, this year the store features two curated sections from Etsy and Kickstarter. We recognized some of our Etsy and Kickstarter faves and it was fun to see them in person. Some of these favorites include the USB Typewriter ($699) and Cineskates tripod ($315).
Throughout the store there are QR codes where one can access more information about each product and persona. As in previous stores, there are also art installations sprinkled throughout the space which adds to the gallery feel. Unlike previous years however there are not many sections where one can sit and interact with the products. Many of the products are under clear cubes due to the security concerns of the new location. The lack of seats and the items under "glass" add to the feeling that you are browsing through a gallery instead of discovering and trying out new things.
One of our favorite art installations is by Erik Mika who created an interactive piece with the Xbox Kinect. This piece uses the movement of the participant and creates a virtual puppet that moves when the participant moves. This puppet is recorded and the movements are compared to other participants movements and they come together to form a very interesting collage.
Like the art by Erik Mika, there are a few spots in the store where interaction is encouraged. These spots include a gaming zone, a Peanuts app space, and a wind tunnel sponsored by Buick. Primarily though, the store is a space to look at some of the items you might have only read about and not seen in real life yet, like the Lytro camera ($399-499).
It would not be a Wired pop up store without the inclusion of the fancy items and this year there is a 24-carat gold plated Atari for ($6,650), a TV with a python belt for ($30,000), and the giant iTree iOS docking station ($15,580). When we saw images of the iTree online we had no idea that it was as large as it is. When we spotted it in the store we were struck by how huge it is and wondered just how big the room had to be in a home to make it work.
The store has a wide variety of items that are sure to appeal to multiple people on your shopping list. From Han Solo ice trays ($9.99) to the tiny Pentax Q camera ($799.95) there are gifts for a variety of budgets. Like previous Wired stores, you cannot take your purchases with you. Purchases made at the pop up store will be shipped. The store will also be hosting several events this year including GeekDad Saturday and Music Spotlights. Not in the NYC area? Don't despair, you can still shop via the Wired online store.
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)