Interview: Devialet's design-led UK expansion plans

8th September 2017

French premium audio brand Devialet is stepping up its UK expansion with new stores. A branch is opening today (11 September 2017) in The Royal Exchange in London, with an additional store set to open in Canary Wharf soon.

The latest outlet follows the brand’s strategy of creating immersive and interactive spaces in which customers can experience the audio quality its products. Devialet general manager UK and Ireland Victor D’Allance says that experience is key to customers understanding its offer.

“We are not just expanding with new stores, but presenting our stores as a new experience,” says Allance. The sleek, minimalist spaces ensure that audio quality takes centre stage, backed by attentive customer service that allows potential customers to sit down with a coffee and take their time to understand product benefits. A concierge service will deliver purchases to anywhere in London within two hours, at no extra cost.

“There aren’t too many things around. It’s very clean, and very easy to understand,” adds Allance of the store environment.

Devialet Gold Phantom

Consistency is a key brand attribute, with an aesthetic that connects the store interiors not just to one another, but to Devialet’s products too. This consistency is achieved by keeping all design and engineering activity, including store design, strictly in-house, says Allance.

“One of our three co-founders – one of the three people at the core of the brand – is a designer,” says Allance, referring to Emmanuel Nardin, who trained in mechanical design engineering. “Design and engineering is key to us as a brand.”

St Pancras

The stores at Royal Exchange and Canary Wharf – while different shaped spaces – will share the same store concept and environment. But it is one that will not become too familiar to UK shoppers. While Devialet has clear expansion plans it will retain its exclusivity (and high price point) by carefully limiting the number of stores it opens.

“We are being called in London by people who are keen to have us… but we don’t want to be everywhere. Maybe one or two more places [in London], but we will look at other premium locations in the UK,” says Allance.

Phantom on the Road

However, if not everybody can get to a Devialet store, the brand may travel to the people. As well as a recently opened immersive room at London’s St Pancras station, Devialet has a mobile experiential zone in the shape of the Phantom on the Road, a listening room build into a shipping container.

Named after one of its product ranges, the easy-to-install feature will be travelling around the UK. Again designed in-house, “It is our own point of sale for various places where people would not necessarily expect to have a sound experience,” says Allance.