When the iconic Apple glass cube on Fifth Avenue was shroud in barriers in preparation for renovation in June, the future of the flagship Apple store was unclear. It was only revealed that Apple would be removing the glass cube and working on drainage, pavers, and bollards on the plaza, but just what changes were to be made to the cube itself remained elusive.
Apple has now revealed that the glass panels as we have known them will be replaced with larger panels to create a seamless appearance. A sign now states, “We’re simplifying the Fifth Avenue cube. By using larger, seamless pieces of glass, we’re using just 15 panes instead of 90.” There will be three panels per side of the cube, running the full length. During the day the store is faintly recognizable as a glass encasing for an underground world; at night the store glows from the inside out. With this new structural detailing, the building will likely appear even more subtle during the day and more brilliant at night.
This original design is an innovation by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and structural engineersEckersley O’Callahan. The glass cube and subterranean glass staircase were trademarked in 2010, associating the vision of the architecture with Apple’s own innovations.
We recently reported that according to documents released by the city of Cupertino, Foster + Partners will be the architects of the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, California. Steve Jobs shared the following, “We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use.”
Designers Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and structural engineers Eckersly O’Callahan (glass elements) in collaboration with Apple used Apple Stores’ signature structural glass vertical circulation to entice plaza level passersby down to the store’s underground main level. The 32-foot structural glass cube marking the store’s entrance makes a bold architectural statement. Housing a transparent glass elevator wrapped by a circular glass stair, the transparent cube beckons potential customers down to the retail level below. By day it is a skylight bringing natural light underground, while at night the lighted cube is a sign. “It was in Apple’s DNA to try to make something that no one else had the vision to create,” said Ron Johnson, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail.
Visitors descend the glass stair or travel in the all-glass elevator, entering a carefully tailored stainless steel and stone environment where Apple’s products take center stage. Custom-designed wooden store fixtures, stainless steel ceiling and wall panels and an Italian stone floor make an elegant, yet restrained backdrop.
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