New San Francisco Apple Store is a Game Changer

The recently opened Apple Union Square store introduces a variety of features that will raise the bar for future design projects worldwide.
Apple Union Square, San Francisco

Apple Union Square, San Francisco

San FranciscoApple has recently opened Apple Union Square, a green-inspired store in San Francisco designed by a close collaboration between Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts and Foster + Partners.

“This is an incredible site on Union Square and a chance to create a new public plaza. We have created the most inspiring and stimulating space imaginable, blurring the inside and outside,” Stefan Behling, Foster + Partners architect, said in a prepared release. “It is possible to experience Apple’s extraordinary products and services while taking in the buzzing Union Square on one side and relaxing in the contemplative quiet of the new plaza on the other.”

Located on San Francisco’s popular and vibrant Union Square, the store features 42-foot sliding glass doors that double as two-story windows, a 6,000-inch video screen on the second floor, and living trees lining its customer support section.

It also sports a backyard forum open 24 hours a day, featuring a 50-foot green wall, free Wi-Fi, and a 47-year-old restored fountain from noted San Francisco sculptor Ruth Asawa.

The store is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, including power produced by 130 photovoltaic panels integrated into the building’s roof.

Apple Union Square, San Francisco

Apple Union Square, San Francisco

The entire building is quietly supported by a giant steel truss structure that bridges over the neighboring hotel basement ballroom, and the treads of the glass staircases on either side of the store are held in place by precisely engineered metal lozenge shaped ‘pucks’ that are discreetly embedded into the glass tread and the stringer to give the impression of floating glass steps.

The Apple Union Square introduces numerous new features that will be a model for future projects worldwide. The Avenue is a specially designed area for the display of accessories incorporated into the central spine wall; the Forum is a learning environment where specialists from various fields come to entertain, inspire and teach; the Genius Grove offers a more relaxed setting amongst a small grove of trees, each within a single planter that doubles as a comfortable place to sit and rest while an Apple Genius answers any questions. Then there’s the Boardroom, a place for meetings, conversations and partnerships for local entrepreneurs.

The company’s original San Francisco store opened on Stockton Street in 2004 with approximately 100 employees, and more than 350 team members will be at the new store.

Images courtesy of Foster + Partners