The Iconic Architecture Of The World’s Major Apple Stores

Apple really knows how to impress and how to stay above its competitors, and not just with their products. The architecture and the design of some of the major Apple stores around the world is truly something to be amazed by. These outstanding buildings are designed to be tasteful, majestic, impressive but also inviting and playful. Each one is unique, featuring a design trajectory that makes it stand out from the other stores but which also gives it that ineffable Apple look. We’ll take a tour around the world, where the most iconic designs are.


Apple Dubai Mall is one of the most impressive structures out there and the main reason for that is its design which integrates one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations. The store was designed by foster + partners. It overlooks Burj Khalifa and its design has been adapted to the location and the climate. The store’s 186 foot curved front is made up of 18 solar wings that respond to the environmental changes, cooling the store when the sun is up and opening up in the evening, revealing a terrace.{found on designboom}.

New York

Apple’s New York store on Fifth Avenue is outstanding, even for Apple. That’s because the store is actually underground and its entrance is a large glass cube. Designed in 2006 by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the 32-foot cube is entirely made of glass and doesn’t have a metal frame, as expected for such a structure. Each wall of the cube was created out of 18 sheets of glass. It quickly became an icon and a landmark and even though there were some recent rumors saying that it will be removed, there’s no need to worry about that since it’s been confirmed that the cube will be put back when the store renovation is complete.

Grand Central, New York

For its New York stores, Apple distanced itself a bit from the usual cutting-edge, minimalist and contemporary look it’s known for and chose instead to give old buildings a second chance. The Grand Central Station is one of the locations. The Apple store here is located on one side of the grand hall and has a surface of 23,000 square feet. This city landmark has been repurposed but it remained an important element that defines this location. Apple’s preservation and restoration of old buildings attracted plenty of attention and even some awards.

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Located in the Hirsch building in Amsterdam, this is Netherland’s first Apple store and its most eye-catching design feature is a large spiral staircase made of glass. The staircase is placed at the center of the store, wrapped around a large column, with an array of lights placed directly above it. The light falls on the stairs and gives them a glittering, dramatic look. The rest of the store is open and airy. There’s a series of balconies on the upper level which allow customers to look down on the entire store. They’re made of wrought iron and they contrast with the glistening staircase and all the white surfaces.


Istanbul’s first Apple store was a project by foster + partners and it occupies two floors in the main plaza, at Zorlu Center. The only thing that you see when approaching the store is a rectangular and transparent volume quite similar to the glass cube entrance in New York. The volume is beautifully lit at night, glowing like a giant lantern and attracting anyone passing by. But while this is the part of the store that’s above ground, the rest of it is underground and it’s connected to the shopping mall.

San Francisco

Apple’s San Francisco store was also designed by foster + partners. It has large glass sliding doors that connect it to the union square and to the plaza to the North, seamlessly linking them. The concept that inspired the store’s design was that of a garden with a fresh and tranquil ambiance, an environment that favors creativity and concentration. It resembles a casual gathering place, with tables, chairs and display shelves that showcase the Apple products. Trees stand at the center.

Palo Alto

The Apple Store in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley was also inspired by the iconic glass cube on Fifth Avenue. This time, the project was done by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Completed in 2013, the store is completely exposed to its surroundings, being framed by glass on three sides. A very thin roof frames the walls, forming overhangs. The whole idea behind this design is to make the store feel like a part of the plaza, emphasizing its relationship with the site and surroundings and putting everything on display. Completed in 2013, the design built on the company’s previous shops like the iconic glass cube on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

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The same foster + partners also designed the Apple store in Brussels and they made sure to maintain the same minimal approach that defines all the other stores. The glazed facade, the light-toned walls and the high ceilings give the store a transparent, bright and open look that characterizes Apple. The interior is furnished with simple table made of sequoia wood and that’s where the products are displayed. The accessories are placed in a case that runs along one of the walls. There’s also a large screen that showcases Apple’s latest products.

Hangzhou, China

Like a lot of their other stores, the one in Hangzhou, China was designed using a lot of glass. This reflects the brand’s preference for minimalist, transparent design. This is the largest Apple store in Asia and it was a project by foster + partners, the company’s trusted collaborators. The direction is towards a minimal and clutter-free environment which reflects the brand’s philosophy. During the day, natural light enters the store through the glazed facade and at night the white ceiling is illuminated, creating a dramatic look.


This Apple store in Shanghai is quite similar to the one in Amsterdam, in the sense that it also features a majestic glass staircase. The interior is minimal and open and the entrance is reminiscent of the one designed for the Fifth Avenue store. It’s a transparent glass cylinder that leads underground. Custom built-in lighting creates a pleasant and inviting ambiance and massive but minimalist tables ground the decor in a chic and modern way. This was a store designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.



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