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Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Italy Architecture News - Jul 27, 2018 - 01:39   18695 views

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Foster+Partners has completed its new Apple store in Milan, featuring a dramatic glass fountain on its roof and the end of public pizza. Named Apple Piazza Liberty, the new store has opened to the public on Thursday. 

The Apple Piazza Liberty aims to revive a piazza with a series of special events year-round by being open for 24 hours in the center of Milan. The new retails store, which includes both a grand public plaza and a store below, brings Apple’s latest retail design to Italy for the first time.

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Image courtesy of Foster+Partners

Just off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Milan, visitors will first encounter a dramatic glass fountain that serves as the entrance to the store and a backdrop to the large outdoor amphitheater. 

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Apple Piazza Liberty provides a grand venue for Today at Apple, free hourly sessions on photography, filmmaking, music creation, coding, design and more. Image courtesy of Apple

The piazza, clad in Beola Grigia, a stone used throughout Milan, will be open to the public 24 hours a day and will host special events year-round amongst 14 Gleditsia Sunburst trees planted in the area.

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Image courtesy of Foster+Partners

"There’s no better expression of our vision for Apple stores serving as modern-day gathering places than Apple Piazza Liberty,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail. 

"In a city with such rich history of art, entertainment and creativity, it's an honor to establish a space where anyone can be inspired to learn, create and connect with their neighbors."

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Image courtesy of Foster+Partners

The interior is a bright, monolithic space, metaphorically carved out of the same stone as the plaza above. The ceiling follows the stepped profile of the amphitheater, with skylights and backlit ceiling panels that innovatively combine artificial and natural light. 

Through the roof and stairs, warm shafts of sun penetrate deep into the sunken store, connecting the interior with the light and rhythm of Milan and giving it a feel of a spacious daylight-filled art gallery. The stairs leading into the store consist of polished stainless-steel clad cantilevering treads that also become a sculptural light installation, creating a theatrical and exciting experience.

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Image courtesy of Foster+Partners

The Apple Piazza Liberty is designed to provide a grand venue on photography, filmmaking, music creation, coding, design and more, that aim to unlock creativity in all attendees for free hourly sessions. Apple has also announced that this September, Apple Piazza Liberty will host a special month-long Milan Series, where 21 local artists will share their visions for the creative future of Milan.

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

The store’s staff includes 230 highly-trained employees, many of whom come to Milan from Apple stores around the world. Image courtesy of Apple

"To work within one of Italy’s historic piazzas is both a great responsibility and wonderful challenge," said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. 

"We combined two fundamental elements of the Italian piazza — water and stone — adding a glass portal that creates a multi-sensory experience as visitors enter the store through a cascading fountain that seems to envelop them."

After descending a stone and metal staircase cantilevered from the Beola Grigia wall to the store below, visitors will be met by a team of 230 highly-trained employees, many of whom come to Milan from Apple stores around the world.

Foster+Partners adds dramatic glass fountain to its new Apple Store in Milan

Visitors will first see a dramatic glass fountain that serves as the entrance to the store and a backdrop to the large outdoor amphitheater. Image courtesy of Apple

"There can be no greater honor and responsibility than to create a new public plaza in Italy, whose piazzas and urban spaces have always inspired us. The fountain is an expression of child-like excitement that speaks to each one of us. In its simplicity, it echoes the idea of walking into a big fountain without getting wet, and the joy of being alive," said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. 

Foster+Partners has been collaborating with Apple for many years for the company's new stores around the world. Foster+ Partners' design for Apple's new Melbourne store has been revised following a harsh criticism by the public. The studio is also behind the project for Apple's new Headquarters in Cupertino, California, which is nearing completion. 

Top image courtesy of Apple

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