Last month, Apple opened a new retail space in San Francisco’s Union Square to replace it’s Stockton Street facility, one of the company’s original retail stores. The Union Square store represents not only an updated retail space, but also a new approach to retail at Apple. The store features many notable changes to Apple’s previous retail designs, but one instantly recognizable feature is the store’s 42-foot sliding glass doors that open dramatically each morning to welcome Apple customers.
Apple store signals new role for glass
The store makes significant use of glass in its design. Aside from the sliding glass doors, the store also features a façade made entirely of glass, and dramatic glass staircases that travel between the store’s first and second floors.
Adjoining the store is a plaza, which the company rehabbed. Visitors can find free Wi-Fi, a green wall and live performances, along with a sculptural fountain originally created by San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa in 1969. The plaza is publicly accessible 24 hours a day. In addition, the store design incorporated solar panels on the roof, and the store uses 100% renewable-sourced energy.
The company has indicated that its Union Square design will be replicated in other major retail locations. Glass will play an important role in the new design because, in part, the company wants to underscore its commitment to transparency, removing barriers and blending the transition between interior and exterior.
The company has begun work on renovating New York City retail space, and a new glass-inspired store in Stockholm, Sweden. The 5th Avenue store in New York City already employs an iconic glass cube, installed in 2011. One of the cube’s glass panels shattered in 2014 during a winter storm, when it was hit by debris from a snow blower. No one was injured in the incident, and the panel was replaced at a cost of about $450,000.
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Photo Credit: Frank Farm, via Flickr.com