Apple opens new store in a historic Milanese square
Apple’s new approach to retail has landed in Italy. The first iteration of its community concept store has revitalised a piazza in the centre of Milan.
Located just off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a high-traffic pedestrian street in the heart of the city, Apple Piazza Liberty opens up a new glass fountain that serves as the entrance to the store and a backdrop to the large outdoor amphitheatre. The piazza, clad in Beola Grigia (an oft-used stone in Milan) is open to the public day and night, and will host events year-round.
‘To work within one of Italy’s historic piazzas is both a great responsibility and wonderful challenge,’ Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer explains. ‘We combined two fundamental elements of the Italian piazza — water and stone — adding a glass portal that creates a multi-sensory experience as visitors enter the store through a cascading fountain that seems to envelop them.’
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, likens the project to the many ‘modern-day gathering places’ Apple has pioneered around the globe. The Milanese opening comes hot on the heels of Apple Store Macau, designed by Foster + Partners, which also combines a public outdoor square with innovative retail space, designed to improve the experience of people exploring the area, not just for buying the Apple products stocked inside.
The Milanese launch is of particular import to Ahrendts, with its ‘rich history of art, entertainment and creativity.’ It’s a city well-matched to Apple’s commitment to learning, creativity and connection. Apple Piazza Liberty, with its focus on community cultivation, will provide a local backdrop the the Today at Apple programme, which offers free hourly sessions on photography, filmmaking, music, coding, design. This September, the new Apple Piazza will host a special month-long Milan Series, where 21 local artists will share their visions for the creative future of Milan. §