Apple plants timber "Tree Canopy" at center of circular glass store
Apple and Foster + Partners certainly go to a lot of effort to lend each flagship Apple Store its own identity – from Dubai, to Miami, to NYC, each is different. Few are as striking as Apple Central World in Bangkok, Thailand, though, which consists of a circular glass store centered around an intricate wooden conical structure.
The unimaginatively-named Apple Central World is located on Bangkok's bustling Central World Square and was designed by Apple and Foster + Partners, through the British firm's local entity F&P (Thailand) Ltd. Architects 49 Ltd was also involved in the project.
Structurally, it comprises a large glass cylinder measuring 80 ft (24.4 m) in diameter and rising to two stories, with an attractive wooden structure named the Tree Canopy at its center. This consists of 1,461 European white oak slats that are bonded to a spruce core. It serves as structural support for the store and juts outward at its top to create an overhanging roof.
"Grounded at its center, the circular roof projects out 10 ft (3 m) to provide shade to the glazed facade," explains Foster + Partners. "Blurring the boundaries between the inside and the outside, the glazed facade dematerializes to reveal the calm interiors of the store. With the same quality of surface finishes on the inside and the outside, the design establishes a generous new public space for the city, surrounded by a ring of trees interspersed with external benches for people to rest and enjoy the green setting."
The interior of the store is arranged into two main levels, with a stainless steel spiral staircase joined to the Tree Canopy to provide access to each (there's also a cylindrical elevator finished in stainless steel placed to one side).
The decor is typical Apple, with its material palette of glass, wood, stone, and the stainless steel. The main two floors include product displays, as well as an area called the Forum which has a large video wall and is used by musicians and artists to hold workshops. The Boardroom, in the basement level, is available for local entrepreneurs to seek advice on using Apple's hardware and software.