Target makes art out of products in pop-up store

Target loves getting creative by way of the small-scale pop-up. In 2013, a life-size dollhouse took over Grand Central Station to show off Target’s Threshold furniture line; during back-to-school season, Target tapped into the college-student market with “Bullseye University,” a 3D dorm simulation outfitted with Target goods.

This week, you can visit an art gallery made entirely of Target products in Chelsea.

Called Target Too, the art gallery-meets-pop-up-store is meant to promote the wide array of items you can buy at Target, as well as push the retailer’s dedication to design. The company described it as a “design-to-digital playground.” Chief Creative Officer Todd Waterbury said in a statement: “I like that it begins to loosen and play with the meaning of what a gallery, a store, a playground, even what an Instagram feed is, and what the integration of technology can do within a bounded space—how it can deepen and expand the meaning of each of these.”

Pop-ups have become a popular way for a small brand or e-commerce retailer to get its collections in front of customers and boost sales without the commitment of a lease. Target’s pop-up, however, doesn’t sell anything at all (instead, it is giving away gifts for free), but according to Jason Goldberg, group vp of commerce strategy at Razorfish, larger companies find great value in the pop-up purely for brand-building purposes.

“Target Too is reminding shoppers that they have a special relationship with designers,” said Goldberg. “[Target has] always been about well-designed products and having designs you wouldn’t usually see at a discount store. [The pop-up] seems aimed at committing to their relationship with design.”

The gallery, which Waterbury called a “playful expression” of bringing guests closer to products, will feature mosaics, statues and interactive installations all made out of items you can find at Target.

The Target dog, for example, is there, built out of Legos. And a Target Too introduction video greets guests at the door.

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An oversized, overturned carton of milk spills out a puddle made, upon closer look, of white Target-brand dishware.

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A big portrait of lips hangs on the wall, a mosaic that is made up of hundreds of spherical, multicolored Eos lip balms, another brand carried by Target.

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Covering the back ceiling, an installation that looks like a spring shower features Method soap raindrops from ping-pong ball clouds.

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Target has created a physical Instagram experience within the gallery by including a collection of items (Sharpies, bathing suits, clothing and accessories) framed by squares, assorted to look like the type of curated snaps you’d find on the retailer’s own Instagram feed.

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A spinning, larger-than-life record player attached to the wall plays music, giving the display a kinetic energy; and a table-and-chairs set affixed onto the walls is set with rotating dinner plates.

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At a counter in the back, guests can take to interactive screens to design their own iPhone case, tote bag or T-shirt from a selection of red and black Target-made designs. They’re printed on-site and returned, free of charge.

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The pop-up, located at 511 West 25th Street, will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until March 31.

Pictures by Hilary Milnes

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