Foster + Partners has unveiled a new Apple Store in Macau — and it’s very different from the all-glass buildings we’ve come to expect from the company. In response to the hustle and bustle of the port city known as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” the British international architecture studio crafted Apple Cotai Central as an oasis of calm housed in a glowing cube surrounded by bamboo. Instead of the Apple brand’s iconic full-height glazing, the architects applied a “first-of-its-kind” glass-stone composite facade that appears to glow from within.
Located in the Sands Cotai Central resort, the Apple Cotai Central store opened late last month and is the second Apple store in Macau. Foster + Partners created the design in collaboration with the Apple design team led by chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive as well as with senior vice presidency of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts. The new store continues Apple’s embrace of POPS (privately owned public spaces) in that the grounds also include a large new event plaza nestled within a bamboo forest.
“We wanted to create something very simple and pure — a beautiful and elegant building that complements the sounds, sights and colors of Macau, while embodying a sense of clarity and quietude,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners. “The design creates two distinct spaces, one inside and one outside, imbued with a sense of authentic beauty arising from the innovative use of natural materials.”
The Apple Cotai Centra gets its “paper lantern” effect from the glass-stone composite facade made up of extremely thin layers of stone attached to five layers of glass, which creates the effect of translucent stone walls evocative of stained glass. To achieve a sense of lightness, the structural frame is only supported on three corner columns clad in mirrored stainless steel. The airy interior features a glazed facade with a skylit central atrium surrounded by bamboo. A pair of grand stone staircases leads to the upper level that is also flooded with natural light.
Images by Nigel Young/Foster+Partners