The Sound of Porsche
by Dallas Ewen
Living where we do, it’s important to take full advantage of Porsche related opportunities whenever you can. That’s why I was anxious, on a recent trip to New York City, to check out Porsche’s “pop up store” in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. “The Sound of Porsche Stories of the Brand” operated for about three weeks this Autumn as a chic boutique space next to Diane von Furstenberg’s atelier on West 14th Street in lower Manhattan. The purpose of the boutique wasn’t necessarily to sell cars, but rather to introduce the Porsche brand to pedestrian passersby in this high rent (and high netwealth) area. The space was liveried in cool white set off by orange midcentury style seating. The main area was flanked by listening stations where visitors donned Bose headphones and chose from an array of 16 “records”, each one a video about the Porsche brand accompanied by a high end soundtrack. My wife and I sampled several of these videos, on topics ranging from Porsche’s history at Le Mans to the interesting history of one very high mileage Porsche car. The venue also included a contest area where visitors could sketch their vision of the sound of Porsche for a chance to win a trip to the Stuttgart factory museum. Of course there was also the obligatory gift shop where one could purchase branded sunglasses, shoes and various other sundries (I bought a licensed “Porsche Parking Only: all others will be towed”).
I also picked up some branded swag including a copy of the latest so painfully cool it’s almost self parodic Porsche design magazine “Black” and yes, its cover design is gloss black on matte black… However, hipsterism aside, the coolest part of the boutique was at the back the Sound Lab Virtual Drive Experience. It’s a soundproof glass room where sits a new 991 wrapped in white vinyl. Visitors select one of three “soundscapes” which is entered into a console by an attractive young attendant, and the show begins. The lights dim, you hear that flat six cranking over, and suddenly the car is alive with imagery flashed onto it from an unseen projector. We’d selected the “Nurburgring Nordschliefe” soundscape and it was awesome, a virtual lap around the Green Hell. The car reflected the landscape guardrails, asphalt, trees and grass as we lapped the track, while the soundtrack wailed through an unseen array of Bose speakers. Fantastic!! So after loading ourselves with swag and enjoying complimentary cold beverages, we departed for the remainder of our day in NYC. The Sound of Porsche was a really neat experience and something that I think would give those unfamiliar with Porsche a real sense of the brand. The venue was urbane, cool and hip, staffed by young, friendly, knowledgeable (and highly attractive) young people no doubt chosen for those attributes. Avery pleasant way to pass a couple of hours in New York City!