Apple’s new Paris store design blends past, present and a sustainable future
At its recent product launches in Apple Park California and New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, Apple gave great weight to its continued environmental focus. Now, it has followed suit in its new Paris store, which opened this week on the Champs-Élysées.
Like all of its facilities, Apple Champs-Élysées is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. But this time, the team – which includes chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts, and decade-long architectural collaborator Foster + Partners – has drawn particular focus to its energy-producing design initiatives.
A faceted glass roof covers the impressive internal courtyard, casting shards of sunlight on the space below, and generating renewable energy with integrated photovoltaic panels. Inspired by cubism, the roof is pleasing to the eye and the environment. The dappled light effect changes dependent on the time of day, not dissimilar to the relaxing Breathe App recently released on the new Apple Watch, in which light and colour shift across the screen, to aid meditative breathing.
Elsewhere, an integrated rainwater collection system makes the most of Paris’ changeable forecast, providing water for the bathrooms, trees and foliage-filled interior.
As well as benefiting from the environmental emphasis vital to new constructions, the design aims to revive the original spirit of the Haussmann-era apartment building inside which the store stands. The team aimed to restore its detailing and interconnected spaces, while nodding to the historical gravitas of Paris’ most storied street. Celebrating the city was particularly important for Ive, who loves Paris. ‘The charm and allure of the city is encapsulated by the scale and energy of the Champs-Élysées, and Apple Champs-Élysées is an extension of that vitality, wrapped within a historic envelope, with a careful juxtaposition of new and old,’ he says.
Fittingly, Apple-esque ingenuity runs through the historical fault lines of the structure, which has seen a number of iterations in its 200-year lifetime. It was once home to aviation genius Alberto Santos-Dumont; a visionary whose innovation contributed greatly to the development of the aviation industry as we know it today. The new Apple store celebrates the vision of pioneers like Santos-Dumont, by creating a space that encourages creativity, innovation and interconnection between its customers.
As such, the store’s community focus is key. The interior courtyard, complete with sky-lit views across Paris, will be dedicated to the brand’s Today at Apple sessions (which first launched in May 2017, as a way of engaging the wider community in Apple’s cultural initiatives).
Though these programs are available in every Apple store worldwide, including on the dedicated Piazza at the recently completed Milan flagship, the location for these free, themed events is arguably the grandest yet. ‘This is one of the most unique Apple flagships in the world, located along the world’s most beautiful avenue,’ says Stefan Behling, head of studio, Foster + Partners. ‘In true Parisian style, it is rich in texture and envelopes a range of experiences that stimulate your senses. This is emblematic of the idea of juxtaposition that runs throughout the interior spaces, bringing together the historic and contemporary, interior and exterior, and ground and sky.’ §