New era: Apple unveils futuristic new store in San Francisco’s Union Square

Interior view of the upper level at Apple's San Francisco store featuring light coloured flooring, long wooden tables with products on top, stools, large windows and a staircase with a metal and glass banister. There are multiple people in the store
Apple’s latest store concept opened its doors to public last week. The façade’s 20.5 ft by 42 ft doors slide open, erasing the boundary between the retail space and the iconic Union Square in the heart of San Francisco
(Image credit: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners)

Last Saturday, the newest store by Apple opened its doors to the public – literally and symbolically. The facade's 20.5 ft by 42 ft doors slide open, erasing the boundary between the retail space and the iconic Union Square in the heart of San Francisco, where it is located. Designed by Stefan Behling of Foster + Partners together with Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive, this two-story space affirms the Silicon Valley giant’s effort to go beyond merely showcasing its products and become integrated into the urban landscape.

‘This is just a teaser,” says Stefan Behling, senior executive partner of Foster + Partners who has worked closely with Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive on the store and the tech giant’s new headquarters that will open in 2017. ‘It’s next year that the world will see what our collaboration has accomplished.’

The stainless steel landmark includes photovoltaic panels on the roof and radiant floors and a LED-illuminated fabric ceiling inside. ‘This is the next generation of Apple retail,’ says Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores, citing openness and transparency as the vision of the future of Apple’s retail. ‘We will know we've done really great if it feels more like a town square,’ she adds.

The store translates the town centre metaphor into ‘The Avenue’, staffed by new creative pros with expertise in music, photography and other arts, tasked with aiding customers with Apple products and select third-party accessories.

The revolutionary Union Square outlet also dedicates nearly a quarter of its footprint to 'The Forum', dotted with whimsical leather boxes and wooden cubes around a video wall where photographers, gamers and developers will give demonstrations and instructions.

The help desk is now replaced by the ‘Genius Grove’ of actual trees in sleek round pots, each topped with leather seating. Another new feature is a boardroom set aside for small business customers.

Keeping with its announcement of offering public plazas at its prominent locations, Apple is also unveiling a communal space behind the Union Square location. It will offer free 24/7 WiFi and live music performances, while retaining the original 1973 fountain by local artist Ruth Asawa for a sense of continuity.

Interior view of Apple's San Francisco store featuring a large window and light coloured wall panels. There is a partial view of the upper level and its glass balustrades where a person can be seen standing looking out at the views

The two-storey space was designed by Stefan Behling of Foster + Partners together with Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive

(Image credit: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners)

Alternative interior view of the upper level at Apple's San Francisco store featuring light coloured flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows, long wooden tables, stools, trees in round planters and a large stainless steel central structure. There are multiple people in the store

The store translates the town centre metaphor into ‘The Avenue’, staffed by new creative pros with expertise in music, photography and other arts, tasked with aiding customers with Apple products and select third-party accessories

(Image credit: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners)

View of the ‘Genius Grove’ at Apple's San Francisco store featuring light coloured flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows, long wooden tables, stools, trees in round planters and a large stainless steel central structure with shelving. There are multiple people in the store

The help desk is now replaced by the ‘Genius Grove’ of actual trees in sleek round pots, each topped with leather seating

(Image credit: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners)

Two side-by-side photos of the staircase at Apple's San Francisco store and an outdoor public space where trees and a water fountain can be seen

Pictured left: a detailed view of the staircase. Right: a view of the store’s public space which will offer free 24/7 WiFi and live music performances, while retaining the original 1973 fountain by local artist Ruth Asawa

(Image credit: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit Apple's website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Nigel Young for Foster + Partners

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Apple
300 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

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