Controlling the process from start to finish. Transforming the brand into an experience. Bringing the product ten steps from the people. The iMac cannot be placed on the same shelf as any old Dell, at the mercy of unknowledgeable shop assistants: this was in Steve Jobs’ mind when, in the late 1990s, he launched Apple’s ambitious project of becoming the world’s top computer producer and opening its own single-brand stores.
The rest is history. Apple runs an innovative sales model inspired by fashion (looking in particular at Gap) in full continuity with marketing, and does so across an extreme and totally recognisable architectural language, made of “large volumes for just a few products”, many spaces for interaction and exchange of information, glass staircases that create continuity between the spaces.
The architect appointed to give form to this vision was Peter Bohlin, from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. One masterpiece after the other, earning Bohlin 42 awards. Just two examples: the cube on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and the cylinder in Shanghai.
After almost fifteen years of successes, 2013 was a special year for Apple Stores. After Jobs’ death and with the relationship with the original VP Retail Ron Johnson over for some time, the company saw the full consecration of its own classic sales paradigm through the attribution of the “registered trade mark” for the stores’ special design and layout. Parallel to this, it began a redesign process together with Foster + Partners, the firm appointed to the new Apple headquarters in Cupertino. What everyone is wondering: in 2014 will Apple be able to amaze us again?
NY Times – A Genius of the Storefront, Too
A fascinating journey through the Apple Store epic together with Peter Bohlin, after the death of Steve Jobs (author: James B. Stewart)
Technology Tell – Four key ways the Apple Store has revolutionized retail
An overview of the Apple model in commercial terms (author: Kaled Ali)
Adaptive Path – Six Design Lessons From the Apple Store
A look at Apple Stores from the designer’s point of view (author: Jesse James Garrett)
Bulding Design – Foster to re-design the Apple store – but can he improve on the perfect formula?
A summary in pictures of the architectural solutions of the “classic” Apple Stores (by Anna Winston)
Wired Design – Apple Store Receives Trademark for ‘Distinctive Design and Layout’
A detailed description of the characterising elements of the registered trade mark (by Valentina Palladino)