Apple and Foster + Partners collaborate on new Taipei store
Foster + Partners has long been Apple's architect of choice and recently completed yet another new store for the US firm. Apple's own design team, headed by Jony Ive, is named as a close collaborator on the project and the sleek glazed building draws design cues from Apple's headquarters, Apple Park.
Apple Xinyi A13, as the store is officially named, is located in the eastern part of Taipei, Taiwan, and replaces a car park that previously stood on the site. The project includes significant landscaping centered around a shaded public plaza with water features. Nozzles are also embedded into the ground that release mist into the air intermittently, in an attempt to cool the surrounding area. Additionally, the area provides choice views of the Taipei 101, which used to be the world's tallest building and is now at 8th position.
The store itself is reminiscent of the Apple Park Visitor Center and consists of a two-story (one ground level, one basement), glazed building, with a carbon fiber-reinforced roof that spans 77 ft (23.4 m) topping it.
The interior decor will be immediately familiar to anyone who's visited an Apple Store, with product display areas both on ground floor and below, though it is enlivened by a marble composite staircase that's inspired by the stairs at Apple Park. Timber ceilings and several interior trees offer warmth too.
"Apple Xinyi A13 is in essence, a beautiful shaded plaza with a lovely calming water feature and a small entrance pavilion which takes you down into an Apple store – that is it," says Ive. "Its understated simplicity belies the extraordinary complexity behind the incredibly thin carbon fiber roof, the amazing earthquake-resistant structure as well as the beautiful water sculptures that imbue the space with calmness and serenity. We wanted to design a public space with a building that was so refined that its presence is hardly felt, yet it makes a positive contribution to the city."
Ive has long been the driving force behind Apple's designs and is credited with creating its most important products, including the iMac, iPod, and iPhone. However, he recently announced he was leaving the firm to set up his own design company called LoveFrom with longtime collaborator Marc Newson. Apple will be their first customer and it'll be interesting to see if Ive continues to have a hand in designing its stores.