Recognized as one of the Apple’s largest retail outlets in Asia, the store is placed in the Hangzhou’s West Lake, a 15-metre-high glazed box boasting a glowing ceiling, a cantilevered floor and glass staircases.
The company says that design of the building “combines an understanding of the local context with the philosophy of simplicity, beauty and technical innovation that characterises Apple’s products”.
The Foster+Partners company assumed the design of the Apple’s stores in 2013.
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The building features an entirely transparent facade made up of 11 double-glazed panels. Mechanically controlled blinds offer shading when necessary, but can be concealed within the ceiling.
The upper floor projects 12 metres from the rear wall, creating a nine-metre-high space intended to evoke “a sense of space and calm”. According to the architects, it gives the idea “of a floating stage in the centre of the space – a new living room for the city”.
The illuminated white ceilings are made up of custom-made lighting panels that also dampen sound, while staircases positioned on opposite sides of the store have floating glass treads that are held in place by embedded bolts.
Foster + Partners began its collaboration with Apple in 2009 with the commission for Apple Campus 2, the company’s new California headquarters. The first Apple store completed by the firm was in Istanbul, Turkey, and another is also underway in San Francisco.
Apple opened its first China outlet in Beijing in 2008. The five new stores will bring the total number in China up to 20, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said in October this number will increase to 40 within two years.
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