The “Un-Carrier” Attitude

By Erin M. Loewe

Photos by Razorfish

Long considered a renegade in the wireless world, Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile recently enhanced its “un-carrier” status by unveiling four new flagship destination stores. Since January 2016, these signature stores have popped up in New York, Chicago, Miami and Santa Monica, Calif. While each is distinctly T-Mobile and gives a freshly immersive experience into the brand, each location also celebrates its home city.

To ensure the stores showcased everything that T-Mobile has to offer, the company partnered with Cincinnati-based FRCH Design Worldwide. “They’re not a timid brand, and that’s what you love about them—the ‘un-carrier’ attitude,” explains Robyn Novak, vice president and creative managing director at FRCH.

At 9,500 sq. ft., the Chicago outpost is the largest signature store so far, which is fitting in an urban setting known as the birthplace of the skyscraper. A 30-ft. vestibule facing Michigan Avenue acts as a digital portal into the rest of the store, where customers are enveloped in LED screens. The high-tech action continues inside with more LED graphics lining the walls, as well as LED totems for wayfinding that can easily be updated. In addition, a high vaulted ceiling and club-like lighting suit the scale of the store.

At the signature stores, virtual reality technology is taking center stage at the moment, adding to the novelty of visiting the new flagships. Similar design elements are seen at all four stores, but with key differences. The Times Square location takes advantage of its corner lot, and integrates the digital from the outside in. The store in Miami Beach is much smaller, but has an Art Deco façade that fits right in. And the most recent addition in Santa Monica eschews a flashy storefront to blend in with its laid-back California surroundings.

“T-Mobile has done a great job of being flexible in each space,” Novak says. “Technology changes every day, so merchandise changes at a moment’s notice. They are evolving and showing projects that will be part of everyone’s connected life.”


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