Despite its perfunctory name, Headfoneshop isn’t your average headphone shop. That’s evident by the space it occupies, at the base of a 42-storey mixed-use tower in Toronto’s residential North York neighbourhood – and far from the more familiar audiophile destinations in the city core. It’s also tiny, occupying a mere 27.8 square metres.
Its most standout feature, besides offerings shoppers a selection of headsets by such high-end brands as Sennheiser and AKG, is its interior, designed by Batay-Csorba of Toronto and L.A.
Principals Andrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba wanted the concept for Headfoneshop to be about music first and foremost, and to “celebrate the ritual of listening to music and the process of testing.” That meant creating a retail environment that is immersive, and where shoppers can take their time exploring, touching, testing and enjoying the wares.
“You can try out almost everything in the store,” says the shop’s website, which also encourages shoppers to bring along their laptops, phones or other devices for listening.
The main feature is the 255 powder-coated folded metal panels that wrap around the walls and ceiling. Installed with 765 visible brass screws, the panels look like the pages of open books, or like half-open box lids. Visual eye candy, the display encourages browsers to view the merchandise from multiple angles, all while hiding tangles of wires.
The rest of the store is intimate and inviting, featuring dark oak millwork, herringbone flooring, velvet upholstery and soft amber lighting overhead. It’s a brooding, nocturnal palette, but largely, it falls into the background.
One thing you won’t see, here, is stacked displays of products, or checkout lines, or even cash registers. Transactions are processed through a laptop, instead. The scale of the room is purposefully residential, keeping the focus on one thing: the listening experience.