15 Incredible Apple Stores

The majority of Apple Stores are boxy, stainless steel buildings or storefronts. But the biggest and most dazzling of Apple’s 300 retail locations are true architectural wonders.

It should come as no surprise that some of the world’s biggest cities are home to the most extravagant and impressive Apple Stores. By definition, they must be larger, so seeing how Apple incorporates its love of design into its most important stores.

Basically, what we can learn from these various stores is that Apple really has a thing for glass. Like, really. Glass panes, spiral staircases made of glass, even entire glass stores! It’s all glass, all the time.

Amsterdam

Apple Store: Amsterdam

Apple Store: Amsterdam

Opened: March 3, 2012
The one and only Apple Store in the Netherlands just opened a few days ago, and it’s a stunner. It’s located in the expansive bottom two floors of the historic Hirsch Building, former home to upper-class clothier Hirsch & Co., taking up almost 11,000 square feet of retail space. It’s staffed by 300 employees who speak 14 languages, and boasts the longest Genius Bar in the chain, at over 65 feet long.
[Image source]

Beijing: Sanlitun

Apple Store: Beijing

Apple Store: Beijing

Apple Store: Beijing

Opened: July 19, 2008
Prominently located at the Sanlitun Village shopping center, the Beijing Apple Store showcases a markedly different architectural style than most others, with a huge, offset stainless steel frame that holds the iconic glowing apple logo. It’s notorious for being the location that recently saw outraged Chinese Apple fans throw eggs at the store after sales of the iPhone 4S were cancelled.
[Image source #1, image source #2.]

Boston

Apple Store: Boston

Apple Store: Boston

Opened: May 15, 2008
When it opened in 2008, the Boston store on Boylston Street was the largest Apple Store in the U.S., its three stories holding a combined 20,000 square feet of retail space. Its most unique feature might be its roof, which features a rectangle of green grass surrounding a huge skylight. The grassed roof is a purely aesthetic touch, and it’s not accessible to the public, but it’s easily visible from surrounding hotels and office buildings.
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Chicago: Lincoln Park

Apple Store: Lincoln Park, Chicago

Apple Store: Lincoln Park, Chicago

Opened: October 23, 2010
A big, steel tunnel. That’s what Apple’s Lincoln Park store looks like, in Chicago. Unlike most Apple Stores, which are adjacent to or built into other buildings, the Lincoln Park store provided Apple with an opportunity to come up with their own take on a completely free-standing retail outlet. Their solution was to create this tunnel-inspired edifice, which has full glass paned walls on the front and back of the store.
[Image source #1, image source #2]

China: Shanghai

Apple Store: Shanghai

Apple Store: Shanghai

Apple Store: Shanghai

Opened: September 23, 2011
Shanghai’s Apple Store is a marvel that ups the ante on the glass cube at New York’s popular Fifth Avenue store (see below) in a big way. Instead of a glass cube, the Shanghai store has a towering glass cylinder that similarly leads to a spiral staircase descending into a below-ground store. It features the largest curved glass panes in the world (at least until Apple’s “mothership” HQ is built in Cupertino), and the glass tower they form is surrounded by a shallow moat. The store below is smaller than one might expect from such a grand entrance, measuring less than 5,000 square feet.
[Image source #1, image source #2]

Hong Kong: IFC Mall

Apple Store: IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Apple Store: IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Apple Store: IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Opened: September 24, 2011
Sometimes two buildings have a “bridge” that connects them, hanging in mid-air over a busy street. It’s a rare thing that a retail space opens in one of these bridges, though. Such is the case with Hong Kong’s first Apple Store, an extraordinary two-story space connected to a shopping mall that features a techie play area for kids on its second floor.
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London: Covent Garden

Apple Store: Covent Garden

Apple Store: Covent Garden

Opened: August 7, 2010
As Apple’s 300th store, the Covent Garden location was at the time of its opening also the company’s largest. Like the Amsterdam store, it’s a retrofit space, built within an existing edifice that apple restored to its former glory — and then some. It’s since been surpassed by the Grand Central Station store (see below), but it covers a massive 40,000 square feet over three levels. The Covent Gardent store made headlines last October after a gang of moped-riding thugs (now there’s a phrase you don’t use every day) broke out some glass windows and made off with iMacs and other Apple devices.
[Image source]

London: Regent Street

Apple Store: Regent Street, London

Apple Store: Regent Street, London

Opened: November 20, 2004
A stylistic first for Apple, the Regent Street store uses existing architecture to full advantage — instead of completely altering it — and eschews tradition (or more likely, predates it) by featuring a standard “straight” glass staircase, instead of Apple’s now-favored spiral.
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New York: Fifth Avenue

Apple Store: 5th Ave., New York

Apple Store: 5th Ave., New York

Opened: May 19, 2006
Arguably the most famous Apple Store in the world, it’s hard to believe the Fifth Avenue store is almost six years old now. The glass cube got an overhaul last year as its numerous glass panes were reduced to just a handful of larger panes, drastically reducing the number of seams on its surface. Probably more than any other, the U.S. media loves to show footage of the Fifth Avenue store anytime there’s mention of Apple in the news.
[Image source]

New York: Grand Central Station

Apple Store: Grand Central Station, New York

Apple Store: Grand Central Station, New York

Opened: December 9, 2011
An Apple Store like no other, the Grand Central store wraps around Grand Central Station’s terminal from a balcony position, making it one of the largest Apple Stores in the world. It just opened a few months ago to great fanfare, though there were just as many detractors who complained about Apple turning foot traffic space in the crowded terminal into shopping space, and bringing unwanted consumerism into the famous landmark. Nonetheless, it’s been one of Apple’s biggest retail successes so far.
[Image source]

New York: Upper West Side

Apple Store: Upper West Side, New York

Apple Store: Upper West Side, New York

Opened: November 14, 2009
You can call it a big, glass box if you want, but I think Apple’s Upper West Side store in New York City is a slick, modern space that I’d love to shop in. It’s 45-foot-high walls make the completely open space into a massive atrium. The store was vandalized early last year, when — you guessed it — some of those huge glass window panes were broken out. All that glass makes for a great look, but is it truly practical?
[Image source]

New York: West 14th Street

Apple Store: West 14th Street, New York

Apple Store: West 14th Street, New York

 

Opened: December 7, 2007
The West 14th Street store in New York had the distinction of being Apple’s first three-story retail space, as well as the first to feature a three-story glass spiral staircase. Appropriate to the meatpacking district it lives in, it sports a “warehouse” appearance externally, while the inside has all of the techno-opulence that Apple Store customers are used to.
[Image source]

Paris: Carrousel du Louvre

Apple Store: Carrousel du Louvre

Apple Store: Carrousel du Louvre

Opened: November 7, 2009
Anybody can open a store in a mall, or even an airport. But only the most elite of retailers are given access to the “Carrousel du Louvre,” the lobby/shopping/dining area inside the Louvre in Paris. The Louvre store was the first Apple Store in France, and it has two floors and a centralized all-glass spiral staircase — like many of Apple’s biggest stores.
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Paris: Opera

Apple Store: Opera, Paris

Apple Store: Opera, Paris

Opened: July 4, 2010
Stylistically similar to London’s Regent Street store (see above), in that it utilizes aspects of the building’s existing architecture — and even enhances those aspects with additional examples of wrought-iron, marble, stone, and wood. When it opened, Parisian locals hailed Apple’s shrewd decision to hew to the city’s “romantic” architecture and not import one of their usual “stainless steel-and-glass boxes.”
[Image source]

Sydney

Apple Store: Sydney, Australia

Apple Store: Sydney, Australia

Opened: June 19, 2008
Sydney, Australia’s one and only Apple Store is a massive, three-story structure offering more than 14,000 square feet of shopping. Apple Store grand openings typically begin in the morning, but this one distinguished itself by starting at 5:00 p.m. on a Thursday. The opening was big news, with more than 3,000 eager shoppers waiting in lines that filled the streets of Sydney. Most of them received free commemorative t-shirts just for showing up.
[Image source #1, image source #2]

About Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

Comments

  1. Kiljoy616 says:

    So have we had any more senile old people falling in any of these stores?

  2. I’m actually a little depressed to not see Scottsdale Quarter on this list. Lincoln Park actually got it’s design from Scottsdale Quarter, the general design is identical, and are both about the same size in terms of square footage, however Quarter was built first, opening on 13 June, 2009.

    They do have slightly different appearances however, Scottsdale Quarter doesn’t get the same free-standing appearance that Lincoln Park has, there is a small one way driveway that feeds traffic in from the main arterial street (Scottsdale Road) which runs alongside the Quarter store, so Apple was forced to built right next to one of the wings that makes up Scottsdale Quarter, so while the building is registered as a freestanding building, you wouldn’t actually know it.

    Good list, none the less!

  3. Ryan Beck says:

    It would be wonderful if they could bring one of these amazing designs to San Fran or Los Angeles. All the Apple stores in California are so boring!

  4. Down Under says:

    You do realize there are way more than one apple store in Australia now dont you?? try 12. I’m surprised you didn’t include Bondi which has trees inside of it. poor effort.

    • So by your reckoning, four Ficus trees in the back of a fairly small store make it a more impressive choice than the three stories and 14,000 square feet of the main Sydney store? Sorry, but there’s just no comparison.

      And I never said there’s only one Apple Store in Australia. I said there’s only one in Sydney. Apple lists the Bondi store at 213 Oxford St Bondi NSW, 2022. It says nothing about this or any other store being in Sydney, aside from the main one listed in the article.

      Don’t assume that something is a “poor effort” when you know nothing about the thought processes that went into making it, the hours of research and writing it, or the person who made it.

      • Actually, you did say that the Sydney was “Australia’s one and only Apple Store”. I’ve copied the direct quote below as well.

        Opened: June 19, 2008
        Sydney, Australia’s one and only Apple Store is a massive, three-story structure offering more than 14,000 square feet of shopping.

        • Ryland Pampush says:

          By ‘Sydney, Australia’s one and only Apple Store’

          He meant it is the city of Sydney, Australia’s only Apple store. I understand your confusion though.

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