[First look] Foster + Partners has completed a new Apple store in Hangzhou, China – its second commission for the world’s largest publically traded company
The project at Hangzhou’s West Lake aimed to create an ‘ideal environment’ for selling the manufacturer’s products – according to a statement from the top AJ100 studio.
Foster + Partners worked with Apple engineers to develop an ‘optimised, minimised and de-cluttered’ scheme intended to deliver a ‘sense of space and calm’ within the busy city.
The design features a 15 metre-high white ceiling which is opaque during the day and illuminated at night. The surface features bespoke lighting panels which transmit an even glow and absorb light.
A 12 metre-deep cantilevered floor meanwhile divides the space horizontally. The floor’s ‘extremely slim’ structure – tapering from 1.2 metres to just 10 centimetres – required tuned mass dampers to eliminate vibration.
According to Foster + Partners: ‘The miniaturisation of architectural elements demanded the highest levels of technical innovation and integration.
‘The practice’s in-house structural and environmental engineers, architects, lighting, acoustic and fire safety teams worked closely with Apple, local partners in China and manufacturers to create a completely streamlined, even ceiling.’
The glass steps at either side of the store furthermore feature discreet bolts in the treads which, according to the practice, give ‘an appearance of effortless simplicity, which belies the complexity of the engineering solution.’
The statement continued: ‘Apple has always been at the forefront of technological advances in the use of glass, and the façade comprises 11 large double-glazed panels, each rising 15 metres.
‘The space is shaded by a series of blinds, which respond to the path of the sun and, when retracted, are concealed within the ceiling.’
Foster + Partners completed its first Apple store project – at a shopping centre in Istanbul – last year.