Apple isn't one to enter a major metropolis quietly. Its retail spaces in Dubai, San Francisco and China have all generated considerable buzz on the back of dramatic, statement-making designs. And the company's first foray into Milan isn't the one to buck the trend.
The store follows another of the company's habits, placing a flagship store smack bang in the middle of a public space. Federation Square is a civic square in the heart of Melbourne, the San Francisco store sits in Union Square, while the Dubai store overlooks the Dubai Fountain and stares up at the mighty Burj Khalifa.
Apple Piazza Liberty is located in Milan's Piazza del Liberty and, if you listen to Apple, will revitalize this public space situated in the city's center. The store is sunken below street level at the bottom of an outdoor ampitheater that will be used for things like "Today at Apple" events, which are free information sessions on photography, filmmaking and other creative endeavors.
How many visitors attend those sessions remains to be seen, but those that do will surely be impressed by the giant fountain/backdrop for the ampitheater. The water cascades down towering panes of glass that also enclose a stone and metal staircase leading down to the subterranean retail space.
"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."
To see more of Apple's stores from around the world, have a flick through our gallery.
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