Appliance Showroom Provides Zen-Like Aura
By Anita Shaw
NEW YORK, NYWhen one thinks of Zen spaces, a plethora of calming
outdoor destinations usually spring to mind but usually not
However, in the case of Goldman Associates’ new appliance
showroom, situated on the eighth floor of the Architects &
Design Building located here, the word Zen describes it
“The way the showroom was designed, it almost has a Zen
quality,” explains Donna Barshak, showroom manager for Goldman
Associates. “It’s very calming, and everything is clearly laid out
so that it’s very pleasurable for the customer to come in and see
the appliances in different settings. It shows everything that it
needs to show very quietly and beautifully.”
Upon entering, the first thing the customer sees is a curved wall
that features cooking appliances and a refrigerator. “It’s set up
like a gallery or a museum, where everything is white and the
appliances are the main exhibit pieces on show,” relays Peter Tow,
the architect who designed this showroom.
Beyond that, there are kitchen vignettes, which feature color
and accessories. “You can see four [of the eight total] vignettes
at the same time,” Tow explains. There is also a fifth kitchen
vignette at the very back that showcases very strong colors,
However, “the focus in our showroom is on the appliances, not
the setting,” emphasizes Barshak.
“Consumers don’t get confused, because… there’s not a lot of
frippery,” she says. While she adds that the showroom does have
accessories and pretty cabinets, “it’s done in such a subtle way
that your eye is drawn to the equipment, not the cabinetry.”
Examining that equipment at the
showroom’s opening in April were approximately 450 industry
professionals, including architects, designers and appliance
They were treated to “food [that] coordinated with each of the
kitchen vignettes in the showroom,” reports Tow. Different style
kitchens such as French, Italian and Asian all featured foods of
Working the party was the showroom chef, who was preparing
dessert in the space’s live kitchen. Located in the front of the
showroom, the live kitchen, which is part of a larger training
area, features a long counter and a variety of appliances.
“This area features a large plasma screen above it, and there’s
also a camera, so you can actually have live product demonstrations
and close-ups of food preparation on the television screen,”
remarks Tow. The company can also run videos as needed for
Designing a showroom is
nothing new for Goldman Associates, which has two other showrooms
one in Roslyn, NY and another in Pine Brook, NJ.
Though the firm moved into this space in late spring 2003, it
had planned to move past its pre-made displays at some point.
The opportunity presented itself when the adjoining space became
available. By leasing the additional area, the showroom doubled in
size to more than 4,000 sq. ft.
“The original showroom was a very traditional design and
included stone flooring,” reports Tow, who notes that there was
talk about saving part of that showroom. However, he adds,”when
trying to connect the two spaces visually, it made more sense to
To keep customers focused on the appliances, Tow made certain
that the showroom surroundings were understated. The cabinets
throughout the showroom were custom-designed and -made so that they
don’t belong to any
specific cabinet manufacturer.
“The showroom is much cleaner now, with the emphasis on the
display of the appliances versus the kitchen cabinets and stone
flooring,” he comments.
There are eight kitchen vignettes, as well as a wine room. In
addition to the French, Italian and Asian kitchens, there is a
galley kitchen, as well as two rooms that are very light in
Two of the kitchen vignettes are also very dark, with very dark
stained wood. “These two rooms highlight a new line from Sub-Zero
and Wolf that’s all carbon,” Tow points out.
Appliances from Sub-Zero and Wolf are joined by products from
Asko, Best by Broan, Independent Inc., Scotsman and Franke.
“We feature a lot of everything,” stresses Barshak, including
hoods. “We are able to show an enormous number of hoods, which is
something that showrooms generally can’t do.”
While the appliances are not live, they are all in display mode,
“so you can turn the lights on and try different settings,”
explains Barshak. “It helps people get an idea of what the
appliance feels like.”
In addition to the vignettes, Tow also designed a resource area
where architects and designers can work with their customers. The
section includes a computer and resource literature for review.
“This gives them full access to information about our products,”
While the wholesale appliance distributor’s showroom is a draw
on its own, Goldman Associates also offers a range of services for
Every Thursday Barshak conducts a showroom tour, discussing the
different appliance options available. Clients are then turned over
to the showroom’s chef, who performs product demonstrations.
“A lot of our dealers will send their customers [here], because
they want them to have knowledge about the appliances they’re
choosing,” explains Barshak.
The showroom further provides on-going training for dealers, and
partners with different organizations for different types of
events. Guest chefs have also performed demonstrations at the site,
and Barshak expects the firm to become involved in doing charity
events in the future.