After working on projects for Apple in Miami, Tokyo, Paris, Dubai, and New York City, architects Foster + Partners have one again added their flair to the tech firm's retail space. Located in Bangkok, Foster + Partners' latest Apple Store emerges like a tree and covers the space with a large canopy.
Overlooking a public square, the building is situated in the heart of Bangkok. The circular design is wrapped in a glass facade that moves across two stories. Measuring 80 meters (262 feet) in diameter, this drum is the perfect vessel to contain the conical form that emerges from the base of the building and feathers out into a canopy that creates the store's roof.
The central support has a spruce timber core that has 1,461 European white oak profiles bonded to its surface. This “tree” is the centerpiece of the Apple Store and casts a warmth throughout the space. The inclusion of this natural material helps create a warm interior environment that contrasts with the outside urban landscape.
This warmth is also enhanced by the use of soft, natural forms. For example, the circular nature of the building is continued by the spiral staircase that leads customers to the second floor. The unique staircase is formed from high-polished, stainless steel turbine blades that have been cantilevered from the central wood core. The final effect is a sculptural stairway that only enhances the central wood support. By mixing materials, the architects have added layers to the visual aesthetics and created a truly unique environment.
Customers are also encouraged to enjoy an indoor, outdoor experience by taking in the 360-degree panorama. A ring of trees around the exterior brings a touch of greenery, while benches allow the public to enjoy the space.
“The new store establishes a quiet sculptural presence at the heart of the bustling Central World Square on the intersection of Rama I and Ratchadamri roads,” share the architects. “It forms a new social focus for the city and an inviting backdrop for the city’s famous New Year celebrations and numerous other annual festivities.”
With more than 18 different projects for Apple under their belt, Foster + Partners has become a master of designing for the brand. This latest project yet again demonstrates their abilities to produce unique retail spaces that speak both to local culture and the global brand.