Back in early January, we reported that the Polaroid brand would soon be launching physical retail locations called Polaroid Fotobars. Well, the first of these spaces opened last Friday at the Delray Marketplace in Delray Beach, Florida.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison showing the artist concept of what the stores would look like, compared to an actual photo of the store that opened:
The store is designed to allow people to easily “liberate their photos” from smartphones, cameras, online photo sharing services, or photos in shoeboxes tucked away in their attic. By making printing available from a wide range of mediums onto a variety of materials (e.g. canvas, metal, bamboo), the shops aim to “reintroduce the tangible photograph.”
Ordinary prints can be made in-store, while prints on more exotic materials must be ordered from offsite. The cheapest product available to customers will be a $1 print that mimics the look of traditional Polaroid pictures. Customers can pay a minimum of $6 to convert 6 of their digital images into Polaroid look-alikes.
All the printing options available in store are in the form of Polaroid pictures with the classic white border. If you want more traditional aspect ratios and formats, you’ll have to take your digital images to a standard printing service.
The most expensive product? A 7×4-foot, 150-pound acrylic slab displaying a photograph. The cost: a cool $2,500.
Polaroid Fotobar CEO Warren Struhl has this to say about the public’s need for an easy way to turn digital photos into physical artworks you can hold:
When I ask people to show me their favorite picture, they take out their phone. My next question is, does that image live outside your phone, exquisitely framed on a wall, desk or shelf? Nine times out of ten they say ‘No,’ with strong emotion. I realized this was a pain point in people’s lives.
In addition to prints, customers will also be able to purchase cameras and materials. Refurbished Polaroid cameras run at $160, while packs of 8 instant films cost $30.
The 2,000-square-foot Fotobar store contains a space called “The Studio”: a multi-purpose room that will host classes and parties, as well as serve as a professional portrait studio.
There is also a “Community Wall,” which will showcase more than 100 prints offered up by local photography enthusiasts for casual exhibition.
Struhl is hoping to open at least 10 new Fotobar shops around the United States over this coming year, with locations ranging from New York and Boston to Las Vegas.
Image credits: Photographs by Polaroid Fotobar