New York's MoMA store: a pioneer in innovation

This photo taken February 5, 2015 show shoppers browsing through one of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) stores in New York. AFP Photo

While some museums are still somewhat skittish about selling souvenirs, New York's celebrated MoMA leads the way in retail innovation, its design boutiques almost as popular as the artwork on display.
      
The museum opened its first shop in 1939 -- a simple sales counter on the MoMA premises on 53rd Street in Manhattan.
      
More than 70 years later, it has five retail spaces in New York, two of them devoted to design, a store in Tokyo and online shopping sites, two of which cater to the Japanese and Korean markets.
      
The most well-known of the shops is the store on 53rd Street just opposite the museum. With its serene, artful displays and documented collection, it is almost an extension of the gallery.
      
Products are presented with a short description, the name of their designer or artist, and the year they were created.
      
"It's really important to our customers to have the experience they have basically in the museum," Chay Costello, assistant director of merchandising, told AFP.
      
"We try to reflect that in the stores, and we have signs that tell people who designs this, what the inspiration is, and we carry a number of things that are in our collection," she added.
      
Some are copies of actual pieces from the MoMA collection, such as the lounge chair and ottoman created by Charles Eames in 1956, which costs more than $4,000.
      
Others are products exclusive to MoMA that have been sourced by buyers who travel all over the world to replenish the store's twice-yearly collections.
      
Still more are MoMA innovations, which have only seen the light of day thanks to online crowd-funding sites -- like the "3Doodler," the first 3D printing pen and one of...

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