More than two years after the iconic cube that tops the Apple store on Fifth Avenue was closed for renovations, the tech giant has unveiled the reimagined location, which opens this week.
Apple worked with Foster + Partners to reimagine the store, which is almost double the size of the old one that first opened in 2006. There are multiple features that make it feel more spacious and connected to the surrounding area.
Inside the glass cube, a glass-enclosed spiral staircase and a circular elevator lead downstairs. Inside the store, the curved ceilings are made out of a semi-translucent fabric, allowing plenty of light to come in. There are several trees throughout the store, as well as a section of the wall that’s covered in plants.
“The best place to be is actually outside. There’s very few places that are much nicer inside than it is outside. The whole idea here is, could you actually make the space feel almost [like the outside]? Does it give you an uplifting experience?” Stefan Behling, head of studio at Foster + Partners, said during a tour of the space.
To that end, the ceiling has 62 skylights that measure the exterior color of the light entering the space and match it inside—and 18 of those lights act as chairs for public use in the exterior plaza.
The plaza surrounding the cube has 28 trees, along with benches around them, and seating created from the structure of the interior skylights. Those round “skylenses” have a mirrored surface that reflects the sky and the buildings nearby during the day. At night, when the light inside the store is more dominant, they allow passersby to see inside the store.
The idea was to give visitors a chance to interact with elements of the store, according to Rebekah Hieronymus, associate partner at Foster + Partners. Behling said making the surrounding area friendly for public use—with benches, trees, etc—was top of mind for the design team.
“In a city, take Manhattan, super high density—I’m going to give you a relatively big space for you to relax, think, calm down...I’m giving you a public space,” Behling said during a tour of the space. “That’s the idea behind it.”
There’s also a new Forum space that will host daily programming, and a section where visitors can experience the sound of different devices. The Genius area is also twice as big as in the last store. The store, just like the old one, will be open 24 hours a day, year-round.