Sound of music: KEF Music Gallery by Tina Norden

After setting foot into the newly launched audio-visual retail experience KEF Music Gallery in Central, you will soon find yourself wandering in a land of exquisite design, alluring ambience and delicate sounds. Thanks to the compelling execution by Conran and Partners’ director Tina Norden, the atmospheric environment sets the bar high, taking the space beyond the limits of any typical showroom.

With over 18 years of experience designing in Asia, Tina has been part of the creative forces behind iconic projects such as PMQ, Hotel Icon, the Mandarin Oriental, and many more. When it came to the KEF Music Gallery project, she yet again brought her signature aesthetic to a space that seamlessly connects custumers with KEF’s supreme sound systems. We spoke to Tina following the showroom’s launch about the project.

See more: Q&A with Teo Su Seam of LTW Designworks

How did you come to work on this project?

We’ve known Victor [chairman and chief executive of Gold Peak Group, KEF’s parent company] for a long time and have worked with him before. Since KEF is a British company originally, I think it was intentional for him to choose a known British design company to handle the project so as to create a connection between the UK and the space. What he aimed to create was a lounge—quite a domestic or even a hospitality-based environment. I guess that’s why he wanted to commission a design firm like us who are known for that kind of design.

The grand entrance sets the tone for the surprises hidden inside.

Enjoy a genuine wireless hi-fi experience at the Wireless Entertainment Pod.

Showcasing on the bookshelf is the LS50 Wireless all-round music system which supports wireless high resolution music playback.

The gallery is nicely decorated with contemporary artworks.

Pictured here is the 5.1 Surround Home Theatre Pod.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy exciting games with exceptional surround sound experience.

Can you walk us through KEF Music Gallery?

We wanted to create something that’s not a hi-fi showroom – there’s nothing worse than that. When you go into a hi-fi showroom, you have people jumping on you saying, “you want to have this, you need this”. It’s not the kind of place you want to hang out in. The idea was to create a lounge where people can feel at ease and comfortably experience the equipment. Audiophiles can even go into a room that is completely acoustically treated.

It was important for us to curate different areas that allow you to test out the devices as if you were at home. We managed to create six big sliding doors equipped with acoustic treatment for the audio room. As such, the room can be completely opened up for a party, an event, or simply for people to walk in and out. When it’s closed off, it becomes your very own bubble. That was the thinking behind the whole design approach, and everything revolves around that room.

The KEF Floorstanding Speaker Highway showcases the brand's flagship speakers and special editions.

Adorning the wall are MUO Wireless speakers in different shades.

Connect your mobile devices via Bluetooth to experience pure sound at the Personal Audio Product Corner.

Items available include Porsche Design Sound products, MUO Wireless speakers and KEF headphones.

Pops of colour swiftly draw your attention to the aesthetic environment.

Do you have a favourite area?

I like the bar counter when you walk in, and also the Collector’s Lounge – even I can appreciate that it has amazing sound.

How does working on a project like this compare to working on the residential or hospitality projects that you’re more accustomed to?

My focus has always been hospitality. Restaurant projects are quite technical as they have to fulfill numerous functions—in many ways it’s actually a similar concept to audio spaces, which have to be purposeful to a very particular function while also being inspiring environments.