There's really only one reaction you can have walking into the new, 90,000-square-foot —or RH, as it's now known—flagship store in New York City: deep breaths. Well, that or a string of obscenities, if you're more of the #nofilter type. Either way, if you people-watch for more than a few minutes, you'll see the same shock-and-awe reactions over and over, all essentially communicating the same thing: This is a store?!
At six stories tall, RH is a mecca for design lovers. It's a place that brings the catalog to life, letting you use all five senses—yes, even taste, because the space houses a coffee bar and a rooftop restaurant—to truly immerse yourself in the brand's well-appointed world.
"I’m interested in bringing the magic back to physical retail, whatever investment that takes in money, creative involvement, and time," RH chairman and CEO Gary Friedman told Forbes.
Gary's willing to put RH's money where his mouth is. The building reportedly cost to bring to life, which seems like a lot—until you factor in that his business decisions have helped the company swell from bringing in $350 million a year in revenue to billions. Yes, plural.
As a result, every detail is considered. RH refers to the space as a "gallery," and in essence, it has that feeling. Instead of being bombarded with sales signs and price tags, like you are at most stores, the furniture is front and center. Everything is thoughtfully styled—and pared back just enough that no corner seems cluttered. It's like you're taking in a high-end exhibit for interior design devotees, rather than shopping for furniture.
And, if you're intimidated by design, the gallery offers guidance in that arena, too—there's a team of interior designers available to offer consultations (which are free, if you're an RH member). There, you can access the brand's entire library of fabrics, leather, furniture, and lighting.
Within minutes of arriving at the flagship, one thing becomes clear: RH didn't create another store—it designed an escape from the everyday. The rooftop restaurant gives you some of the best views of lower Manhattan, making it a destination for tourists and locals alike. Exactly as it's intended.
"A restaurant is a draw that can get customers in here more often and give them a chance to be thinking about what RH has to offer—so that when they are ready to buy, we’ll be top of mind," Gary explained.
And if you don't have time for a full meal—though if you can squeeze it in, the eggs with crème fraîche are "divine" and the fries are some of the best you'll have, according to Yelp reviewers—there's always the café, for a quick coffee break.
Though you may soon find there's no such thing as a "quick" escape when there's so much to take in.
Follow CQ on .