Apple – alongside its architecutural team mates at Foster+Partners – seems to be opening a new, beautifully designed store in a new global city every month. Here’s your definitive list of where they are, and what makes each one so special. In the ‘Today at Apple’ era, the stores have become tech treasure troves that offer more than just pay points. They have a community focus, retail design vision, with one eye continually trained on urban development.
Apple Piazza Liberty, Milan, Italy
Opened July, 2018
Located on one of Milan’s central pedestrian shopping streets, the first ‘Today at Apple’ store in Italy is a calling-card for future projects. Defined by its central, cascading waterfall, and its abundance of public space (including a large outdoor amphitheatre), the store offers a backdrop to the Today at Apple programme, which will host site-specific performances and workshops. Angela Ahrendts, the the brand’s senior vice president of retail, calls the project a flagship of the many ‘modern-day gathering places’ Apple has pioneered around the globe. Read the story.
Piazza del Liberty, 1, 20121 Milan, Italy
Apple Macau, China
Opened June, 2018
Foster + Partners and Apple chief design officer Jony Ive worked closely to design the Apple Cotai Central store as ‘an oasis of calm’. A meditative complement to the buzz and excitement of gaming capital Macau, the store is a geometric masterclass. The near-perfect cube blends outside and in, combining sprawling bamboo plantings with cubic light wells and a first-of-its-kind ‘translucent stone’ façade. Little square footage is dedicated to actually buying things – the store rather provides a mindful meeting place, fitting with the late Steve Jobs’s raison d’etre: ‘to enrich lives’. Read the story.
Galaxy Fashion Exchange, Macau
Apple Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Opened October, 2017
Located on the Chicago riverfront, Apple’s Michigan Avenue store bridges the historic Pioneer Court with the city’s river. A carbon-fibre roof caps the curved glass pavilion, designed to be as thin as possible (and similar to a MacBook Air in its profile) and is virtually invisible when viewed from across the river or above. Inside, white oak ceilings and Castagna limestone walls provide a textural treat. Square footage takes cues from Apple’s Town Square retail blueprint, including the Genius Grove; The Boardroom; The Forum; and The Plaza. Read the story.
401 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Apple Park, California
Opened December, 2017
The most talked-about new building in the latter half of 2017, the supposedly $5bn Apple Park HQ in Silicon Valley is a loop of glass, aluminium, limestone and concrete. Designed in close collaboration with Apple chief design officer Jony Ive, Apple Park houses 12,000 employees in identical segments, as the building structurally repeats itself eight times as you move around it. The 50-60 storey main building, dubbed The Ring, is the hub of a huge construction effort, housing the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater which features Poltrona Frau light-tan leather chairs, curved wooden floorboards and as much space behind stage as in front of it. Read the story.
1 Apple Park Way, California, USA
Apple Regent Street, London
Re-opened October, 2016
Originally opened as Apple’s first European store in 2004, Apple Regent Street was refreshed and updated during 2016. Part of the mezzanine level was removed to create a double-height grand hall, with access provided by twin staircases, their handrails hand-carved into the store’s stone walls. In addition to the extensive overhaul, the store was the first to roll out Apple’s latest retail plan, which includes facilities such as the Forum and Boardroom. The historic building’s exterior was also considered, Foster + Partners preserving the Grade II-listed Portland Stone and Carrara marble façade and hand-cut Venetian smalti glass tile. Read the story.
235 Regent Street, London, UK
Apple Post Street, San Francisco
Opened May, 2016
Erasing the boundary between retail space and the iconic Union Square at the heart of San Francisco, Apple Post Street’s exterior façade features 20.5 ft by 42 ft sliding doors. The two-storey space translates the Silicon Valley giant’s effort to go beyond merely showcasing products, instead being integrated into the urban landscape. The stainless steel landmark includes photovoltaic panels on the roof and radiant floors, as well as an LED-illuminated fabric ceiling inside. The Forum space features a large video wall, where staff specialising in photography, gaming and developing provide demonstrations and instructions. Read the story.
300 Post Street, San Francisco, USA