Architecture

Foster + Partners transforms historic Rome building into Apple Store

Foster + Partners transforms h...
During the renovation project, Apple Via Del Corso's original eye-catching facade was painstakingly restored
During the renovation project, Apple Via Del Corso's original eye-catching facade was painstakingly restored
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Apple Via Del Corso retains the original grand staircase found in the historic 19th century Palazzo Marignoli building
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Apple Via Del Corso retains the original grand staircase found in the historic 19th century Palazzo Marignoli building
During the renovation project, Apple Via Del Corso's original eye-catching facade was painstakingly restored
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During the renovation project, Apple Via Del Corso's original eye-catching facade was painstakingly restored
An archival photograph of the original building, in which Apple Via Del Corso is now situated
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An archival photograph of the original building, in which Apple Via Del Corso is now situated
During the Apple Via Del Corso project Foster + Partners retained some original touches from the 19th century building, including marble finishes and paintings
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During the Apple Via Del Corso project Foster + Partners retained some original touches from the 19th century building, including marble finishes and paintings
The renovation of the Apple Via Del Corso building involved thousands of hours spent restoring a hand-painted ceiling that was found during the project
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The renovation of the Apple Via Del Corso building involved thousands of hours spent restoring a hand-painted ceiling that was found during the project
Apple Via Del Corso includes product displays and areas for hosting workshops and events
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Apple Via Del Corso includes product displays and areas for hosting workshops and events
Apple Via Del Corso is arranged around a courtyard that dates back to the 16th century
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Apple Via Del Corso is arranged around a courtyard that dates back to the 16th century
View gallery - 7 images

Foster + Partners' latest project sees the high-profile British firm reprise its winning partnership with Apple to design a flagship Apple Store in Rome. The project modernizes the 19th century Palazzo Marignoli building while taking care to retain its character with the restoration of original artwork found inside.

The recently opened Apple Via Del Corso, to give the store its official name, is located on the Via del Corso, a busy street in Rome. The site once hosted a 16th century convent, but the building that stands today was designed much later – in 1870 – by renowned architect Salvatore Bianchi, with Giulio Podesti later adding its eye-catching facade. For a while it was an influential cafe hosting journalists and political figures.

If you've ever set foot in an Apple Store, you already have a good idea of the decor, with a focus on wooden display tables showing off the tech giant's wares, and areas for so-called Genius Bar customer support, as well as events. However, Foster + Partners also went to great lengths to highlight the existing architecture and features, including a tree-filled central courtyard that's actually a remnant of the 16th century convent.

Inside the store proper, there's a grand staircase and superb marble detailing. Original lanterns were restored and fitted with LEDs that are meant to mimic candlelight, and an old skylight was uncovered to increase natural light inside. Two 19th century paintings were also restored by specialists over thousands of hours, as was an elaborate hand-painted geometric pattern ceiling.

The renovation of the Apple Via Del Corso building involved thousands of hours spent restoring a hand-painted ceiling that was found during the project
The renovation of the Apple Via Del Corso building involved thousands of hours spent restoring a hand-painted ceiling that was found during the project

"On the ground floor two large ceiling paintings called 'Dawn' and 'Dusk,' by Fabio Cipolla and Ettore Ballerini respectively, have been carefully restored and integrated within the new store," explains Foster + Partners. "One of the most exciting finds were the multiple graffiti panels created by the artist, Afro Basaldella – a contemporary of Picasso and one of Italy's most important artists – depicting urban scenes from Italian cities.

"The facade towards Via del Corso has also been carefully restored, its large windows allowing views into the store and towards a beautiful internal courtyard. Entry to the store is through a historic passage that leads to the courtyard flanked by two generous and striking spaces that celebrate the grandeur of the historic palazzo."

Foster + Partners has long been the architect of choice for Apple, and the collaboration has resulted in some superb and varied store designs over the years, such as the Cotai Central and Apple Marina Bay Sands.

Sources: Apple, Foster + Partners

View gallery - 7 images
3 comments
3 comments
usugo
The project modernizes the 19th century Palazzo Marignoli building while taking care to retain its character with the restoration of original artwork found inside.
so, they have basically done what countless companies and business owners have been doing across old dusty Europe for centuries. Genius!
Bricorn
I've never been in an Apple store, I'd walk into that one if I was passing though. Not to buy, I'm an Android man, but for a perve at the "architecture porn".
Signguy
No wonder Apple products are so expensive...