APPLE STORE PIAZZA LIBERTY
Milan, Italy / 2018
Apple Store Piazza Liberty has opened to the public in Milan in July 2018. Designed by Foster + Partners, Piazza Liberty is the first Apple Store to be built in Italy following the retail design collaboration with the architectural firm. The project includes both a large public square and an underlying store; the true attraction is nevertheless the dramatic glass fountain that serves as an entrance to the store and as a backdrop to the outdoor amphitheatre.
Apple Piazza Liberty is an ensemble of two fundamental elements, a stepped plaza and a fountain. Located just off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele – one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Milan – visitors are drawn towards the piazza by the sight of the dramatic new fountain. A celebration of the joys of city life and embodying its dynamic nature, the signature water feature is an interactive, multisensory experience. Visitors enter the fountain through a glass-covered entrance enveloped by the sights and sounds of vertical jets of water that splash against the 26-foot high glass walls.
An immersive recreation of the childhood game of running through fountains, the experience changes throughout the day as sunlight filters through the water, while at night the glass ceiling creates a kaleidoscopic effect, with the water falling down the walls, and its reflections travelling infinitely up the sky.
The fountain flows down into the base of the Amphitheatre, a new social hub and an outdoor extension of ‘Today at Apple’. The Amphitheater is defined by broad and sun-soaked stone steps descending below street level and opening up to a stage, backed by a second fountain’s wall of water. The entire plaza is newly created and paved with Beola Grigia – a typical local stone from Lombardy, and surrounded by 21 new Gleditsia Sunburst trees.
The interior is a bright, monolithic space, metaphorically carved out of the same stone as the plaza above. The ceiling follows the stepped profile of the amphitheater, with skylights and backlit ceiling panels that innovatively combine artificial and natural light. Through the roof and stairs, warm shafts of sun penetrate deep into the sunken store, connecting the interior with the light and rhythm of Milan and giving it a feel of a spacious daylight-filled art gallery. The stairs leading into the store consist of polished stainless-steel clad cantilevering treads that also become a sculptural light installation, creating a theatrical and exciting experience.