Samsung has opened another one of its flagship experience stores, this time at the iconic Opera House in Bengaluru, India. The heritage building, located at the junction of Brigade Road and Residency Road, was built during the 1920’s British India.
At its prime, the Opera House was a venue to host social events, mostly held by the British soldiers and civilians during the Raj. It eventually was transformed into a movie theater that showed Tamil and English movies, and at some point, even softcore pornography, but its popularity began to wane during the 1980s. At the dawn of this decade, however, that business saw a fall as well, leaving the building unused.
In 2016, Samsung took a lease on the building and began restoring it with the intention of setting up a retail store. “Renovated and restored with minimum intervention to the original structure, the transformation of the 33,000 sq. ft. space has been done using local materials,” Samsung India’s Senior VP for Mobile Business, Mohandeep Singh, told Bangalore Mirror.
The Samsung Opera House, as it is now known, is the company’s largest flagship experience store in the world; the main intent with the building is to sell products, and on display are not just its mobile products but also things like higher-end models of its refrigerators, washing machines, and TVs. However, there are other ambitions behind the project as well, as Singh told The Times of India:
“We did a small survey in Bengaluru that showed that a majority of residents (81%) have had at least one game-changer idea, but one out of three did not know of a place in the city where they could network with likeminded people and mentors, and nurture their ideas. We expect Samsung Opera House will become that destination where like-minded people come together, talk technology and interact with venture capitalists.”
Other highlights include a ‘4D’ VR Zone featuring experiences like roller coasters, kayaking, or cycling through scenic Europe, utilizing intriguing contraptions – including Whiplash Pulsar 4D chairs. There’s also a home theater zone where people can pre-book timeslots to watch movies with their friends and family.
Samsung currently has the second largest smartphone market share in India, following Xiaomi, and the company opened the world’s largest mobile manufacturing plant at the outskirts of the country’s capital just a few months ago. It’s clear that Samsung considers India an important market to invest in, and as Singh told The Indian Express, there is an intent to open more of these experience stores in the country:
“Bangalore is our first one and we would want to cover the larger cities in India, say top seven or eight. I think it is only a matter of time that we go to other cities.”
As for now, the Samsung Opera House is open to the public.