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Better than a store, you can eat there: Microsoft Café

Exploring a new conception from Microsoft, a café in Paris — to be short-lived, yet an interesting telling on the principles of relationship development. But, Windows 7?

Imagery sources

Like good storytelling, the message begins on the street.
47 Boulevard Sebastopol

I’ve written about the new Microsoft retail concept. And the comparisons, inevitably, reach to Apple. Written about that too.

But the challenge in creating any follow-on concept might be literally infected by what’s out there. I mean, how often do you come in contact with a retail concept that is so over the top, so beautifully orchestrated, that you’d say “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” The challenge, of course, is looking into the heart of the brand, the story, the retail — retelling, that lends itself to innovation on the front of place creation. The idea reaches to finding the brandcode®, the genetic components of enterprise, then creating the modulation to frame this out in the manifestation of place.

A friend suggested, after I’ve had a chance to offer the blog on the Microsoft retail revelation in Scottsdale, that I should see what was happening in Paris. The link that offered the opening on this front for me was a cute bit to French tech called Le Journal du Geek.

To crediting the imagery, most of the shots come from this site. And, intriguingly enough, his are some of the few that actually exist on the web. That will be short-lived Nice content, an overview in French of all things technical and technological — with a reference to the experience from a a distinctly Parisien point of view. Having worked there in the past, it brings back very fond memories.

But one thing is clear, in the explorations to the evolution of Microsoft retail, is that their café concept is actually more interesting. What I mean is that retail is the convention of retailers — it’s for the experts in managing retail > sales conceptions within the construct of place making. Microsoft’s current retail leadership just might have that sense approach — but, if so, why invest in a design and retail strategy that suggests — or rather, has been observed as Apple-like, in character. There are plenty of references of those that foray into the place of building bricks and mortar selling environments, then having a very hard time keeping them functional. Apple might be a rare one — from nothing to $5,000 / per square foot.

But the point is about the concept of the actual resonance, the spiritual vibe of the brand, and what makes sense for the relationship in community to the brand. Apple and Microsoft, clearly, have different vibes. But here’s a try — see those sticks; scent diffusers from Résonance. There’s a start.

People relate to them differently. One, a cult. The other another of community. Who cares, what’s the story? And finally, why tell it?

The store’s only open for a little bit, then it’s out and gone. Just for Windows 7, I’ve learned; and that’s too bad, because simply the idea of a place that’s about gathering relationships, telling brand story, spreading the word in an entirely French manner — food and drinks; it’s a good one.

What I like is there’s a attempt to be more authentic, to be bolder, more direct — yet, friendlier.

The key to the concept of relating, the carrying through, is assuring that you’ve go the resonance to build community. What could be better to align than the relational character of the spirit of a “restaurant” — a restorative.

Restore community.

And some of my Microsoft friends have said, “what is your deal, harping on us all the time about what we’re doing.” I’m harping on everyone. And I’ve been a designer for Microsoft retail, too.


MyPetFly, from Gizmodo offers this alternate shopfront, better perhaps, to finding the code, so to speak.

Exploring the human brand

the work: https://www.girvin.com
the truth: http://www.tim.girvin.com/
the reels: http://www.youtube.com/user/GIRVIN888