Top 10 Awe-Inspiring Apple Stores in The World
Apple is all about its branding and the company sometimes goes overboard with that. But nobody is complaining, as it gives us newer chances to marvel at the magical pieces of architecture it keeps opening up around the world. The marvelous Apple stores that we’ll be taking at a look at soon are not just locations meant to sell the company’s products. In fact, they’re anything but that. They exemplify Apple’s commitment to top-quality design and also create a front for the brand to stand out to not just those who enter the stores but also to the millions who pass by them daily.
From New York to Milan, from Bangkok to Paris, Apple has decided to open these unique stores at locations all across the world. They appeal to you with their exclusivity and their stunning architecture. And they turn whatever locations they are stationed at into iconic spots for tourists and locals alike. We’ve chosen 10 of the best Apple stores across the world based on their exceptional design. Without wasting any more time then, let’s take a look at them.
Apple’s newest floating orb store in Singapore
Situated in Singapore’s picturesque Marina Bay, Apple’s latest retail store is a sight to behold. Not just because it’s shaped like an orb, but also due to the fact that it’s the world’s first Apple store that floats on water. Referred to as ‘The lantern on the bay,’ the entire ball of glass is covered with sporadic stripes of varied opacity, and leading up to the store is a curved timber bridge that adds a lot of character to the structure. But that’s not the only entrance to this majestic place. Since this store is located on the property of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, you can also enter through an underground tunnel that it boasts of.
During the day, the glistening glass surfaces of this store reflect the towering skyline of the city, while in the night, it glows with a gentle warmth to evoke the design of traditional lanterns carried during Singapore’s Mid-Autumn Festival. This is the third Apple store in Singapore and the other two also happen to be sights to behold, by the way.
The iconic Fifth Avenue store in New York
The landmark Fifth Avenue Apple store in New York sits just minutes away from Central Park and tracks some of the highest visitor traffic in the US. The concept of a glass-cube shaped Apple store came from a meeting of Steve Jobs with Harry Macklowe, a New York City real estate giant who had just purchased the iconic GM building in the city for a whopping $1.4 billion.
An issue facing Macklowe was that the plaza directly in front of the building was considered too big to be a plaza and too small to place another skyscraper. Moreover, it contained a basement that was never even used. With the aim of converting this awkward space into something way more than that, he approached Apple with the idea of building a retail experience at the spot. It was apparently Jobs’ idea to come up with a glass cube design.
The tall glass cube greets visitors and its transparent nature offers a look at the GM building at the back, with the view only being obstructed by a glistening Apple logo. And the tall structure only really houses a staircase that takes you down to the actual store. But this unique approach wasn’t just for vanity, as it also serves the purpose of allowing sunlight to directly light up the store at the bottom.
Apple’s Fifth Avenue store was opened in 2006 and in the years leading up to now, it has revamped it multiple times. The first update came in 2011 when the company spent $6.6 million to rebuild the cube using just 15 panels of glass instead of 90. But the major renovations to the store came in 2017 when they actually had to open a temporary location for customers to shop at.
The 2017 renovation took over 2 years to complete. The store boasts of portholes in the ceiling to let more natural light pass through and they are paired with LEDs that match their color temperature to the natural light. On the inside, not only will you find trees in the middle of the store but also walls of greenery around the perimeter where visitors can sit and charge their devices.
The architectural wonder in Shanghai
Apple’s store in Pudong, Shanghai is a true marvel to behold. Situated in the heart of the city, this store is pretty similar to the one on Fifth Avenue, but one major difference is that it’s cylindrical in shape. Massive pieces of specially crafted curved glass have been used to create the forty one-feet tall structure that domes over the actual store situated underground.
When you enter the shop, you’ll be inside the busiest shop in the city, as the store is always teeming with eager customers. This is quite possibly the busiest Apple store in the world. In fact, on its opening weekend, it had attracted more than 100,000 visitors, with some having queued up outside for days. Its entire 16,000 square feet of space is dedicated to offering the best possible glimpse at Apple products that you can buy right then and there.
The store also serves as an important purpose of distinguishing the brand’s identity in China. That’s mainly because tons of fake Apple stores try to catch people’s attention in the country and frankly, none of them can be as iconic as this particular build, which means people know that the authenticity and class that they expect from Apple can only be grabbed from its flagship stores.
The Apple store in Shanghai is not only a design marvel but also a cultural landmark. This architectural wonder attracts not just shoppers but also people who just want their photographs clicked in front of them for online bragging rights. Situated on the Pudong district of Shanghai, it stands in a sunken space that adds to its charm and its overall look.
In its background is the ultra-futuristic Oriental Pearl Tower that gives the store an excellent background to stand out against. Amidst the glorious skyline of Pudong, the Apple store adds its own charm. It truly is a must-visit location for every diehard Apple fan.
That store situated right within Grand Central Terminal
It’s difficult not to be enamored by the sheer beauty of the historic Grand Central Terminal in New York’s Manhattan. At its bottom is the main metro station, but the top is where you’ll find the landmark Apple store. This is a one-of-a-kind Apple retail store for which the company had reportedly paid $5 million to buy out the previous tenant. And then it paid around $2.5 million to renovate the space.
This unique Apple store overlooks the historic Main Concourse from the East and North East balconies and has two Genius Bars for free tech support and advice. The way this Apple store blends in seamlessly with the historic landmark that is the Grand Central Terminal is something that deserves praises.
The Grand Central Terminal happens to be among the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions, having clocked an estimated 21.6 million visitors in 2018, excluding train and subway passengers. Several films have been shot here and the place is a major tourist attraction as well. People visit the terminal mainly for its historical charm that has been maintained despite the various modern rebuilds.
It hence makes sense for Apple to place a store there. At the time of its launch, this Apple store boasted of more than 300 employees who would cater to customers on its massive 23,000 square feet of space. If you’re ever in Manhattan, the Grand Central Terminal should indeed be on your list of must-visit locations and when you’re there, you surely should enter this iconic Apple store.
World’s tallest Apple store in Ginza, Japan
Opened way back in 2003, years before the first-ever iPhone was to see the light of the day, this was the first Apple store in Japan. It’s the tallest store built by the company to date and also the first one to have been set up outside the United States. A stainless glass structure makes the building stand out among the rest in the area and entering it is also a pretty exciting experience. Among the things that will end up making you smile is a button-less elevator.
The Ginza store holds a special place in the history of Japan. When the earthquake and tsunami hit the country in 2011, leading to the Fukushima disaster, this store was a prime spot for people to gather up and grab the latest news. They would also use the devices placed there for accessing their email and keeping up with their loved ones during the tough times.
On days when a new iPhone is about to be launched, people queue up outside the Ginza store two days in advance. The helpful employees at the store speak not just Japanese but other languages as well, which makes the store more friendly for tourists.
The Ginza store is made up of five floors that cover more than 20,000 square meters of floor space. And it also features a twenty seven-foot long Genius Bar for patrons to get all their complex questions answered by experts. This store is home to an 84-seat state-of-the-art theater, where customers can attend workshops or watch demonstrations of Apple’s latest products. A kids section is also present for the tiny tots to enjoy.
The interiors of this store are highlighted by large tables filled with dozens of MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones, and iPads to try out before you actually buy them. The button-less elevators we mentioned above are deliberately made to move very slowly to let you grab a memorable view of the surroundings. If you’re wondering how the elevator knows where to stop without its buttons, it just stops at every floor that is accessible to the public at that moment.
Apple Store Sanlitun Store In Beijing
The original Sanlitun store Beijing was opened in 2008 as Apple’s first-ever store in China. And as much of an iconic location that it was, the new space that was just reopened this July is even more charming. In fact, it’s twice the size of the original and is home to a Forum, Viewing Gallery, and a Boardroom.
The Forum is all set to be the future home for Today at Apple, where the store will host some of Beijing’s greatest artists, musicians, and creatives who will showcase and teach their process. As for the Viewing Gallery, it’s situated within the grand upper level and offers a stunning vantage point for the lively outdoor square. As for the Boardroom, it will allow local businesses and entrepreneurs to get make use of a sophisticated space to hold their crucial meetings.
The Apple Sanlitun store features Apple’s very first integrated solar array in a retail store in China. This eco-friendly array will provide power to the store below, adding to Apple’s grand efforts to conserve the environment. After all, the company is known to power more than 450,000 homes each year in China through renewable energy.
Since its opening way back in 2008, the Apple Sanlitun store has hosted more than 22 million visitors, which is almost the equivalent of Beijing’s population. It’s build using 33-foot glass panels, fabricated in Tianjin, China that blur the barrier between inside and outside. Signature staircases line each side of the store, running parallel to exterior stairs to create further transparency and flow. The floors at this store are covered with Padang Light stone from the Shandong province, and the West terrace is lined with Sophora japonica, the official tree of Beijing. The store is now home to 185 team members, who today will open a new era for Apple in Beijing.
Apple Store Covent Garden At The Heart Of London
One of the largest Apple stores in the world, the one in Covent Garden, London, is in a 19th-century building and the architects have done very well to maintain the charm of the era while also giving it the Apple treatment. Its famous glass staircases surely inspire awe and have survived a major redesign that was granted to the space in 2018.
Among the new additions was a Boardroom featuring the same furniture used in Apple stores across the world and at Apple Park. With its calming white walls and somber paintings, this Boardroom creates a conducive atmosphere for whatever meetings are to be held here. The Boardroom is, of course, closed to the public, but can be used for private events, business meetings, and Apple sessions.
The Covent Garden store has also been blessed with a new video wall that’s parallel to the main entrance, which means it’s the first thing the visitors will see on crossing the archways at the entrance. A 355-inch 8K display showcases Apple product information and a Forum seating area has rightfully been situated in front of it. There are moreover, 10 benches spread throughout the store.
The distinct charm of the Covent Garden Apple store lies in the history associated with the location. Back in the 7th century, it was an Anglo-Saxon trading hub. During the 16th century, it was part of a massive chunk of land that was freed up because of the dissolving of monasteries. King Henry VIII hence decided to give it to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford.
It makes sense then for Apple to set up its store at a historic location like Covent Garden. The space is easily accessible to tourists as well, for it’s located near a number of regular tourist spots, including the Buckingham Palace, the Piccadilly Circus Station, the Trafalgar Square, and even the London Eye.
Apple Store Champs-Élysées In Paris
Situated inside a Haussmann-era building is the Apple Champs-Élysées store that’s a true tribute to the rich history and creativity of Paris. This large building is home to an inner courtyard that has been transformed into Apple’s grandest Forum, dedicated to free Today at Apple sessions hosted by popular musicians, filmmakers, animators, and more.
This store happens to be a careful blend of historic and modern architecture, which is so apparent in the way it honors its past while introducing modern aspects of design. Its façade and entryway have been accurately restored to their past glory, while the Burgundy stone of the exterior has been carried throughout the building. On the upper levels, French oak parquet floors have been used with the aim of reviving the building’s original spirit.
Apple has also made clear that a number of design decisions have been taken with the environment in mind. Among them is a sculptural roof light that covers the courtyard, providing sunlight to the space below and generating renewable energy with integrated photovoltaic panels. The building has also been equipped with an integrated rainwater collection system that provides water to bathrooms, trees, and green walls. And just like all of Apple’s facilities, this one too is powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Paris used to be home to another iconic Apple store called the Carrousel du Louvre. However, it was shut down in 2018, much to the disappointment of locals and tourists. It was situated just around the corner from the Champs-Élysées store. As its name suggests, it was located under the Louvre Pyramid and featured a glass skylight that appeared to defy gravity. The city of Paris houses two other Apple stores currently. One is the Apple Marché Saint-Germain the other is the Apple Opéra.
Apple Store Upper West Side in New York
There’s one more highly eye-catching Apple store in New York in the form of the Apple Upper West Side store. Situated at 1981 Broadway, it still dominates the list of places to visit if you’re ever in the Upper West Side in New York. A beautiful tall glass storefront greets you at first glance. Although imposing, it’s still a very inviting looking store. It does not utilize the empty vertical space, perhaps giving the design some breathing space.
Everything from Apple’s array of products, including iPods, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more are sold at this store. It has a Genius Bar present inside for offering skilled technical support and advice to any Apple customer who needs it. The Upper West Side store also hosts plenty of events throughout the year. These include anything from photo walks, tutorials and much more.
This store was opened by Apple in 2009 and is still noticeable for its all-glass arched roof. Back then, its lower level featured the largest area ever created by Apple for personal training and technical support. It was the fourth Apple store to have been opened by Apple in Manhattan and its 15th in the New York metro area.
The Upper West Side Apple store is situated right next to the vibrant performance venues of Lincoln Center. It’s home to a day-lit interior that’s completely visible to the bustling city outside. The stretched 40-foot-high glass facade marks the entire street’s corner as it ever so subtly meets the arched at the top, completing the exterior look.
As a result, the store doesn’t need to worry about lighting at all. During day time, the glass lets in all the light from outside, while during the night, the arrays of light arranged on the roof take over. Like all Apple stores, this one too is completely powered by renewable energy.
Apple Park Visitor Center in Cupertino
Apple’s very own campus in Cupertino is home to an eye-catching marvel of architecture. It’s called the Apple Park Visitor Center and although it’s not a proper store, it does have a store inside it stocked full of the latest Apple products. The company describes this property as an architectural extension of its new campus with similar aesthetics in staircases, stone walls, and terrazzo floors.
The most striking aspect of this Visitor’s Center is its cantilevered carbon-fiber roof that appears to float and is only supported by stone clad cores. There’s a roof terrace here as well, where you can go to soak the beautiful views of the main building and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees on the grounds. This roof is moreover, covered with curved carbon-fiber fins.
The Visitor’s Center greets the guests with a large-scale model of Apple Park that looks like it’s suspended mid-air. This particular model has been built by the same machines that are used to build Apple products. A delicate screen of thin, curved carbon-fiber fins shades the terrace, where people can relax and take photos against the lush backdrop of Apple Park.
Everything from a cafe to a dedicated AR zone is present inside this facility. The Apple Park Visitor Center was opened to the public in 2017. This is a space meant just for those who are visiting the campus in Cupertino and happens to be the only part of the Apple Park where tourists are permitted.