Abt Electronics Celebrates Anniversary Expanding Showroom to Feature Elite Kitchen Appliance Brands
October 17, 2016
Abt Electronics the nation’s largest single-store retailer of electronics and appliances located in Glenview, Ill., has once again expanded its 100,000+sq.-ft. showroom in honor of its 80th anniversary. The new Inspiration Studio, which premiered on Oct. 13, adds an additional 10,000 square feet located in the loft area of the store’s famous atrium and features premier kitchen appliances from a dozen luxury manufacturers, including Bosch, Dacor, Gaggenau, Jenn Air, La Cornue, LG, Miele, Monogram, Thermador, Samsung, Sub-Zero/Wolf and Viking.
The idea for the Inspiration Studio was dreamed up by and is dedicated to Bob Abt, the Abt family patriarch who sadly passed away last year before he had the chance to see his dream come to fruition.
“We’re always updating our retail environment to stay on top of the latest trends and technology, but my dad’s goal was to always do it in a way no one else was doing it,” said Jon Abt, one of Bob Abt’s four sons, who share the title of co-president at Abt Electronics. “His vision was to create a completely unique and unexpected space that showcases the best luxury appliance brands available and exposes Abt’s customers to innovations in kitchen design.”
That idea led Bob to contact an old friend and colleague, internationally renowned kitchen designer Mick De Giulio. He owns de Giulio Kitchen Design and has worked with the Abt family for more than 25 years.
“His motivation was to provide the best customer experience, as in everything that Bob did,” said De Giulio. “And to do that, Bob wanted quality to be felt at every level in the new space, in his words, ‘first class.’”
Bob gave Mick total artistic freedom to bring his vision to life through Mick’s unique style and creative eye. The result is awe inspiring and features many one-of-a-kind designs and high-end appliances that can only be found at Abt.
“We named the space the Inspiration Studio because dad was an inspiration to the entire staff at Abt who respected him not just as a boss but as a mentor,” said Mike Abt, Jon’s brother and co-president. “We also hope the kitchens Mick designed will inspire our customers to explore new ideas while shopping.”
Some of the more original and impressive items featured in the Inspiration Studio include Sub-Zero ovens with no handles that open with one touch; Thermador’s Freedom Induction Cooktop with a large, fully usable surface; Dacor’s in-home wine station; La Cornue’s custom oven with gas burners and an induction top as well as a gas and electric oven all in one; La Cornue’s island and range set up valued at more than a quarter of a million dollars, among many other high-end appliances.
The 12 interconnected spaces are each devoted to a particular manufacturer, showcasing its own style. “I wanted to challenge conventional design and inspire visitors to think differently about kitchens and appliances,” said De Giulio.
Also impressive is that each space allows live cooking demonstrations, as they are fully functioning. All of the architecture, interior design and decorative lighting is by De Giulio and designed with the sole purpose of bringing Bob Abt’s dream to a breathtaking reality.
Accentuating De Giulio’s design is colorful artwork throughout the Inspiration Studio that tells a special story. Giclée prints were produced from paintings by autistic children. The paintings were created especially for the studio by children at Have Dreams, a Chicago-area nonprofit serving young people impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and coordinated through the For Autistic Kids Foundation established by the Abt family to raise awareness and funds for children with ASD.
Photos Courtesy of Dave Burk Photography