Regent Street is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, and the site where Apple opened its first retail store in Europe in 2004; the new store occupies the same 1898 building, with the Grade II listed historic façade now restored and preserved.
Characteristic of the new Apple Flagships, the interior space is a 7.2-metre double-height grand hall – forming a 'town square' like space that is flexible and welcoming. The design enhances transparency from the street and floods the store with natural light, dramatically improving the visual connection between the two levels. The interior front facade, with its full height arches clad in Portland stone, can be appreciated in its full extent. The store also features the longest Luminous Ceiling Panels in the world that cover the entire ceiling. The custom-made lighting panels emit a pure, even, white light, and have the capability to absorb ambient noise.
Using a warm palette of materials including stone, wood and terrazzo that is sympathetic to the historic nature of the building, the store has a calm setting, with the increased height allowing for the addition of twelve Ficus Ali trees on the ground level, bringing nature to the interior spaces. The grove of trees have planters – designed by Apple’s ID Studio and Foster + Partners – that double as a comfortable place to sit and rest. The signature Apple display tables are set against the backdrop of the new Avenue – the completely redesigned wall display that allows people to touch, feel and try out the Apple products and accessories in an engaging and hands-on way. Located in the middle of the space, The Forum is a new learning environment, where experts from various fields can come to entertain, inspire and teach. It occupies a prime position in the store with a vast video wall that acts as an animated backdrop for the entire store.
Along the sidewalls, a staircase on either side of the screen draws one up to the new mezzanine level, overlooking the grand hall. The mezzanine hosts the Apple’s Geniuses, where visitors can get assistance to setup their device or answers any product related queries, and the Boardroom – a place for meetings, conversations and partnerships that can be used by app developers, digital entrepreneurs and other small start-ups to become part of the Apple family.
The walls and staircases are made from sandblasted stone, while the balustrade – seemingly carved in to the wall – has a smooth, curved, and honed finish that is pleasant to touch. The stone parts were created by a combination of handcraftsmanship and CNC robotics, and were dry assembled on site. Additionally, 89% of construction waste was recycled during the project, while the store is powered by 100% renewable, clean energy.
The design of Apple Regent Street in London is the result of a close collaboration between Apple’s teams led by Jonathan Ive, chief design officer and Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of Retail and Foster + Partners.
Design by: Foster + Partners
Photos by: (c) Nigel Young- Foster + Partners