Bang & Olufsen had their grand opening of their second showroom store in South Africa. We were at the Mall of Africa to experience the amazing audio and visual quality the Danish brand has to offer
If you have been hanging around the northern parts of Johannesburg the last couple of years you would be forgiven to have the impression that we aren’t in difficult economic times. The Waterfall expansion in southern Midrand is probably the country’s fastest expanding economic hub. Equestrian estates, state of the art office parks and modern services like hospitals and clinics are just the tip of the iceberg. One of the latest attractions to open its doors the past week is the Mall of Africa, a 131 000m² behemoth ““ South Africa‘s biggest single-phase shopping mall development to date.
The setup has attracted many an international brand and will in the long run give Sandton City (the richest square mile in Africa) a strong run for its money (excuse the pun). One of the premium brands that has opened its doors in the Mall of Africa is the Danish audio and video designer company Bang & Olufsen. Bandwith Blog was invited to attend their grand opening and take a look at probably the best audio and video products in South Africa.
Since it was my first visit to the Mall of Africa I gave myself some time to explore and find the Bang & Olufsen store beforehand. The MoA is one big piece of real-estate and will sit comfortably next to the best establishments in the world. I’m not much of a mall person but the sheer size of the structure lent a sense of wonder and comfortability, even though there were thousands of other people gawking at their new money-pit around me. Have you ever walked into a Ferrari showroom and felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman? Totally out of your league. Well that’s exactly how I felt when I entered the B&O store in the Mall of Africa.
I was greeted by the doorman and ushered into a beautifully designed and well laid out product showroom.The store isn’t very large and that’s understandable. B&O cater for the upper-upper-end of the market. With a champagne glass in one hand and a Danish pastry in the other (cute touch with B&O coming from Denmark) a started browsing the various products on show and inevitably looking at their prices (which were displayed alongside the product specs). Neddless to say I quickly had to swallow down my pastry with some champagne as not to choke on the extravagant prices. I have always known B&O to be the absolute premium in audio (and more recently video) design, but paying an average of R80,000 ZAR for a sound setup (and that’s the mid to low range stuff) doesn’t sit too well in my frame of reference.
After mingling for a while we were addressed by Niels Moller Nielsen (MD for B&O) and he took us through the company’s vision for the brand and this particular store. Even though I might not be within their target market it was clear that B&O has been growing and plans to continue to do so with the opening of stores in South Africa. We were also introduced to the latest portable product audio in the B&O line-up, the BeoPlay A1. The Bluetooth enabled speaker is about the size of my hand, but I have never heard such amazing audio quality and volume coming from something so small. Here are some more specs on the BeoPlay A1: The 24-hour battery life is an amazing stat – especially with the performance the speaker puts out. At a price of R5,000 ZAR you definitively get all the bang for your buck (if you have the bucks). After the proceedings concluded we were allowed to browse, ask questions and most importantly experience the products for ourselves. I was immediately drawn to the headphone section and, to my surprise, was able to pick up, connect and experience all of the different headphones with my trusty iPhone. This was a clever step from the B&O staff as it allowed us the feel and experience the amazing quality of the products. It sure got me over the line. I have never heard my favorite playlist in such quality. Maybe I should start saving for a decent pair of B&O headphones… The cherry on the top however was the experience room, a separate enclosed room that has a comfy leather couch and an audio/video setup to die for. The room was kitted out with the BeoLab speakers (R1,216,000 ZAR) and the BeoVision 85-inch TV (R500,000 ZAR). And what demo did the show us? Nothing else than the full cinematic trailer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It. was. awesome. The experience even eclipsed the full IMAX version of the film I watched in December. It was that good. But I guess at the price of a 3-bedroom cluster in Sandton it had better be!
All in all my experience of the B&O store opening was great. I entered feeling that the products were way overpriced but throughout the night that perception changed as I was introduced to the audio and design brilliance that is Bang and Olufsen. If you are in the neighbourhood and want THE best equipment on the market, make sure you visit the B&O store.