Foster + Partners has unveiled its new
Apple store in Hangzhou, one of five it will be opening in China before and during Chinese New Year.
The striking 15 metre high store is a glazed box and features a glowing ceiling, cantilevered floor and glass staircases.
An entirely transparent façade made up of 11 double glazed panels and retracting mechanically controlled blinds complete the unique building.
Located close to Hangzhou’s West Lake, the store is one of Apple’s largest outlets in Asia.
Foster + Partners explains their design as an extension of the Apple way of thinking.
"(It) combines an understanding of the local context with the philosophy of simplicity, beauty and technical innovation that characterises Apple's products," they said.
Space was used to evoke a ‘sense of space and calm’ with the upper wall projecting 12 metres from the rear wall creating a 9 metre high space.
"This gives the impression of a floating stage in the centre of the space – a new living room for the city," said Foster + Partners.
Innovative design was possible through the use of mass dampers which made this floor thin – it tapers from 1.2 metres to 10 centimetres.
Its illuminated white ceilings consist of custom-made lighting panels capable of dampening sound. The staircases at opposite ends of the store have floating glass treads held in place by embedded bolts.
The opening of the West Lake store is a part of a larger strategy by Apple which includes five new stores across China.
The first opened in Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan Province, in January. The West Lake Store opened two weeks later.
Apple opened its first store in China in Beijing in 2008 and the additional five stores will take China’s total to 20 with that number predicted to increase to 40 in the next two years.