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'Prototype' Apple Store to call on a decade of design knowledge

post #1 of 9
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Construction of what is being called a "prototype" Apple Store is just days from breaking ground in Palo Alto, and is planned to feature an open-space architecture that draws on the company's 10 years of iconic retail space design.

Palo Alto, Calif. city officials said on Thursday that work is set to begin "any day now" on the $3.15 million project, which permit filings describe as a "new prototype" Apple Store, reports local newspaper Mercury News.

Architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is the project applicant for the two-story structure that will be located approximately one block away from Apple's existing downtown Palo Alto store, which is expected to close once the new space is completed.

"Our Palo Alto store was one of our first retail stores when we opened it nearly a decade ago and it's been incredibly popular," Apple spokesperson Amy Bessette said. "We are planning a beautiful new store just a few steps away, building on everything we've learned from our customers in Palo Alto and around the world."

Plans submitted to the city for the new Palo Alto location call for a 15,030 sq. ft. store that features a glass roof and facade that allows natural light to fill the open retail space, and offer passers-by an unobstructed view of the store's interior. A basement and rear mezzanine will serve as office and storage space.

"It's a very unique building," said Palo Alto planning manager Steven Turner. "The retail space within the building is very visible to pedestrians who are walking past."

Site of 'new prototype' Apple Store in Palo Alto | Source: Kirstina Sangsahachart via Mercury News

The city issued the build permit for the store on Dec. 12, and according to Yvette Sheets-Saucedo of the Palo Alto Development Center, an application to tear down the Liddicoats building that currently occupies the lot is nearly complete. Construction crews have already completed a bypass tunnel for pedestrians to use when construction is underway.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has designed numerous Apple Stores around the world, winning multiple awards for its work on London's Covent Garden, New York's Upper West Side and China's Pudong stores, among others.

Apple's Covent Garden store in London | Source: Apple

Apple's first retail store opened in May, 2001 under the oversight of the late Steve Jobs and former Senior Vice President of Retail Operations Ron Johnson. The company has gone on to open over 350 international Apple Stores, and the retail spaces are considered to be among the most profitable in the world per square foot. Most recently, Apple opened the doors to one of its largest flagship stores at New York's Grand Central Terminal earlier this month.
post #2 of 9
The new Houston Highland Village store, opening in January, appears to be similar to how the Palo Alto store has been described.

http://swamplot.com/highland-village...front-and-back
post #3 of 9
In other news, Microsoft has announced plans to open a new type of retail store, designed to showcase its products to passersby. In addition to large, clear plexiglass windows and open space, large banners will tout the Windows 8 experience. Also, 60 inch flat screens turned sideways and encased to look like Windows phones running Metro will be positioned in front of the store as well as in malls.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

In other news, Microsoft has announced plans to open a new type of retail store, designed to showcase its products to passersby. In addition to large, clear plexiglass windows and open space, large banners will tout the Windows 8 experience. Also, 60 inch flat screens turned sideways and encased to look like Windows phones running Metro will be positioned in front of the store as well as in malls.

You beat me to it. Just looked at the Microsoft store at South Coast Plaza in Orange County, CA this weekend while Xmas shopping. How can they hold up their corporate head with such a blatant rip-off of the Apple Store basic design? Lots of red-shirted employees standing around talking to each other.
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post #5 of 9
It's been rumored for years that Apple was going to move their Palo Alto Store to the site of the old Z Gallery on University Ave. Guess they finally got the go ahead to begin the project. Personally, I wish they would have moved across to street to the newly shuttered Borders which was built inside the old Varsity Theater. That building is historic and much more interesting in my opinion. In any case, it will be fun to visit the new store...
post #6 of 9
Liddicoats was the site of the first Mrs. Fields Cookie shop, first a tiny place toward the back, later prime space at the front.
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Mac user since August 1983.
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by karmadave View Post

It's been rumored for years that Apple was going to move their Palo Alto Store to the site of the old Z Gallery on University Ave. Guess they finally got the go ahead to begin the project. Personally, I wish they would have moved across to street to the newly shuttered Borders which was built inside the old Varsity Theater. That building is historic and much more interesting in my opinion. In any case, it will be fun to visit the new store...

I was hoping they would move into the Borders location as well, but I think that would have been really difficult to renovate into their brand while keeping the historical architecture.

What worries me about the Z Gallery location is the parking lot behind the store. I bet a lot of people are going to try to park there and that will cause a lot of traffic as people cruise through that lot looking for a spot, and then back on to Hamilton or Bryant. But it will be worth it!!!
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by runrguy View Post

The new Houston Highland Village store, opening in January, appears to be similar to how the Palo Alto store has been described.

http://swamplot.com/highland-village...front-and-back

And that looks almost exactly like Apple's Lincoln Square store in New York City, which is quite beautiful. However, one problem with that design, which features stone floors, stone walls and glass ceilings in a large open space is that it is incredibly noisy. Every sound is magnified. I had a lot of trouble testing Siri in the store and it sounded to me like there was a very large sound system on the owner level, but when I went down there, there was just some small computer speakers playing.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by macslut View Post

I was hoping they would move into the Borders location as well, but I think that would have been really difficult to renovate into their brand while keeping the historical architecture.

What worries me about the Z Gallery location is the parking lot behind the store. I bet a lot of people are going to try to park there and that will cause a lot of traffic as people cruise through that lot looking for a spot, and then back on to Hamilton or Bryant. But it will be worth it!!!

Parking is no picnic around the current store either

I think Apple could have kept the historical architecture of the Borders/Varsity Theater. They've gone into MANY historical buildings most recently NYC's Grand Central Station. The Borders location probably wasn't available when Apple began the (long) permit process. Moving to the former Z Gallery location had been rumored for years...
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