Fourth byte out of the Big Apple

19 Nov 2009

Upper West Side's Apple Store opens

The extreme minimalism of Apple's unique retail stores took consumer design and turned it on its head, but none more so than Manhattan's Fifth Avenue store which was likened to the Louvre Pyramid and hailed as an architectural icon. Creating a transferable brand through the use of predominant glazing and the company's simple apple logo, Apple are steadily building on their portfolio of over 200 stores worldwide. Four Apple stores now exist in Manhattan, the last of which opened this week in Upper West Side.

Built from scratch, replacing the demolished Victoria's Secret store, Apple worked with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to design the UWS store to stand prominently as a place of worship for Mac lovers, with a high glass atrium protecting the glowing produce beneath. Like all Apple stores, UWS works on the basis of simplicity following the corporate policies of counterless stores, reduced product displays, and the unique-to-Apple Genius Bar.

The new store borrows most of its innovation from the Fifth Avenue store design, but with a twist. While the Fifth Avenue store buries all of its functionality underground using the glass cube as an entrance pavilion, the UWS store functions both on street level and at basement level. Both levels are sparsely fitted out, letting the produce do the talking.

At atrium level four sides of a cuboid are actually concealed in concrete - 3 walls and the floor. But an angled extension of the shape to the front and a curved roof add to the illusion of further transparency.

Taking visitors to the basement level where the Genius Bar and workshop space are present in an almost classroom formation, is a wide set transparent spiral staircase, similar to that used in the Fifth Avenue store.

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