Controversy brews around Apple's plans for new San Francisco store

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
It's rare for Apple Stores to encounter much in the way of design criticism, but that's exactly what's happening in San Francisco, where Apple's proposed new flagship store is catching flak for both design and its impact on the area.

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Apple revealed plans to move its flagship store from Stockton and Ellis to San Francisco's Union Square earlier this month. The new location will be 45 percent larger than the current flagship, with all of the same features.

The San Francisco Chronicle's urban design critic John King, though, published a critique of Apple's plans for the store, calling it "a box that would look at home in Anymall, U.S.A.

The proposed store was designed by Foster + Partners, a firm Apple began working with recently in order to tweak the look of its retail locations. The all-glass storefront in Foster's design is one of King's bigger hangups about the location, as it will see direct sun exposure for much of the day, while the side facing Stockton Street will simply be a windowless wall.

King's biggest complaint, though, appears to be the impact the store will have on its surroundings. The new store will significantly decrease the size of the public plaza behind it, and it will also require the removal of a popular fountain sculpture.

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In place for 40 years, the bronze Ruth Asawa fountain was designed as the centerpiece of the existing Stockton Street plaza. It displays a map of San Francisco done in a stylized relief form.

The fountain, which King says "could exist nowhere else but here," is not visible in any of Apple's plans for its store, and King presumes that its absence means that the fountain will be removed.

Apple's plan was met with considerable enthusiasm by San Francisco's city planners, and King believes the plan will likely proceed without any significant redesigns.

Foster + Partners is the same firm that designed Apple's forthcoming "spaceship" campus. Apple in the past has worked with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson on its retail outlet designs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    j1h15233j1h15233 Posts: 274member


    Lots of presuming done here...

  • Reply 2 of 48
    Ugly fountain is ugly. Looks like Apple would be doing them a favor by removing it. 40 years doesn't exactly make it a historical object.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Criticism of one person (so far) is controversy?
  • Reply 4 of 48
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,277member
    This is not a "popular" fountain. It is an ugly, dated looking monstrosity in a poorly designed space that is always in the shade, and so, in San Francisco, that makes it perpetually, unpleasantly cold and windblown.

    The steps are a very poor alternative to sitting, eating lunch or doing anything else across the street in Union Square, which the new Apple store will face.

    Anyone actually in SF knows the "Comicals" John King is a blowhard who says nothing of note. He praises ugly projects and picks at things like this. While it certainly can be criticized, any problem with the new store is certainly not because it ignores the ugly, unused diagonal steps behind it rather than opening out into Union Square.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    Embedded in this fountain is a small piece of San Francisco's history and spirit. Hundreds of San Franciscans contributed to its making. I hope this isn't true.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by N8ERSWORD View Post



    Ugly fountain is ugly. Looks like Apple would be doing them a favor by removing it. 40 years doesn't exactly make it a historical object.


    Ugly or not they should probably preserve it as a historical artifact. They could auction it off to some museum, foundation or private citizen. I'm sure someone wants it. It would be a shame to melt it down. It must have some historical relevance. 


     


    Edit:typo

  • Reply 7 of 48
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,771member


    Don't see how you can criticise Apple for an Anymall aesthetic when you have that completely generic Levi's store next door.


     


    The fountain is interesting looking, but I'm sure it could be interesting looking somewhere else just as well.

  • Reply 8 of 48
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    He ain't wrong.  He makes some valid points.  


     


    Also, people calling that fountain "ugly" don't have a clue and shouldn't be commenting on design/art issues at all.  

  • Reply 9 of 48
    I find Apple's store to be much more aesthetically pleasing than that ugly fountain.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    johnnyb0731johnnyb0731 Posts: 326member


    I liked that fountain while I was visiting the city

  • Reply 11 of 48
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Ugly or not they should probably preserve it as a historical artifact. They could auction it off to some museum, foundation or private citizen. I'm sure someone wants it. It would be a shame to melt it down. I must have some historical relevance. 





    The fountain was the work is Ruth Asawa, who had also made a dozen or so fountains and sculptures all over San Francisco and other parts of California. There are "images" of real people and real landmarks on this one. Some people call it a map of San Francisco.

  • Reply 12 of 48
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    He ain't wrong.  He makes some valid points.  


     


    Also, people calling that fountain "ugly" don't have a clue and shouldn't be commenting on design/art issues at all.  



    Those "critics" probably wear pants up to bottom of their butt.

  • Reply 13 of 48
    sacto joesacto joe Posts: 707member
    Slow news day?
  • Reply 14 of 48
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    "Apple involved in stylised mapping scandal"
  • Reply 15 of 48

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Those "critics" probably wear pants up to bottom of their butt.



    You sound extremely butthurt over other people's opinions.

  • Reply 15 of 48
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,493member
    A "popular fountain sculpture"?? According to whom? I'm over here several times a week. It's not "popular". I avoid that particular corner simply because of the panhandlers and homeless folks that my beloved city prefers to cater to instead of those that actually pay taxes.

    That corner is an eyesore. It's no wonder the Mayor was so ecstatic to have an Apple store there. I'll gladly take that compared to what's there right now.

    It irks the heck out of me when people put such value on complete nonsense this "critic" puts out.

    Critics said the same thing about the renovation of Union Square years ago. Now it is a great gathering place and more welcoming than the homeless camp and the dodging of syringe needles in the old park.

    Move the fountain somewhere else. I certainly won't miss it. Better yet, this a$$hat critic can put it in front of his house.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    danyakdanyak Posts: 28member
    Criticism seems worthy - though I don't know first hand what it would look like in the proposed area. Personally, I'm feeling that Apple's once great designs are a getting a bit dated and yes, OMG, mall-ishly standard and spare.
  • Reply 18 of 48
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,021member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Crowley View Post


    Don't see how you can criticise Apple for an Anymall aesthetic when you have that completely generic Levi's store next door.


     


    The fountain is interesting looking, but I'm sure it could be interesting looking somewhere else just as well.



     


    Not to mention the "boxy" high-rise buildings all around the "proposed" Apple Store.

  • Reply 19 of 48
    Dude, that fountain is repellent. In the picture, it looks like a giant picked his nose and threw down a giant booger. Of course, sculpture cannot really be appreciated without actually seeing it in person, so it may be quite a sensitive and moving moment to behold it.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,837member


    Compared to the dreadful architecture surrounding Apple's proposal, the city should be begging Apple to move ahead post haste.

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