If you think Apple’s urban retail stores are gorgeous, wait till you see what’s in store for the future of their iconic shops. The tech giant just opened Apple Union Square in San Francisco, which features actual living trees and a focus on community that will set the standard for future stores worldwide. Designed by Foster + Partners, the nature-filled, solar-powered shop still features the brand's classic minimalist appearance, but boasts forward-thinking features such as renewable energy.
Foster + Partners is no stranger to working with Apple. The international architecture firm has overseen the design of several iconic Apple stores, such as the glass-clad flagship in Istanbul, as well as the new Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino that’s nearing completion. With Apple Union Square, the architects closely collaborated with Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, and Angela Ahrendts, the senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. Set across from San Francisco’s famous Union Square Park, the new store was created to evoke a sense of openness as well as a connection with nature and community unlike ever before.
The building opens up via 42-foot-tall sliding glass doors that welcome visitors into a space specially designed to function as a kind of community town square. The glazed facade and addition of living trees in the interior blur the lines between the inside and outside. In contrast to bustling Union Square, the store was conceived as a “tranquil garden of contemplation” with tables and seating, as well as a small outdoor courtyard with a green wall and water features. The store also includes the ‘Forum,’ a new learning space with a massive video wall; the ‘Boardroom’ that hosts meetings behind the green wall; and the ‘Genius Grove,’ which replaces the typical Genius Bar area with a small grove of trees set within rounded planters that double as seating.
“This is an incredible site on Union Square and a chance to create a new public plaza. We have created the most inspiring and stimulating space imaginable, blurring the inside and outside”, said Stefan Behling, Architect, Foster + Partners. “It is possible to experience Apple’s extraordinary products and services while taking in the buzzing Union Square on one side and relaxing in the contemplative quiet of the new plaza on the other.” The store is powered by 100 percent renewable energy that includes solar power generated by 130 photovoltaic rooftop solar panels.
Images via Foster + Partners by Nigel Young