In April this year Apple revealed it would begin to overhaul its store design for the first time in 15 years.
Beginning with the San Francisco flagship, the new fit-out has since been rolled out across the globe at stores in London, Paris, Chicago, the United Arab Emirates – and now Melbourne.
Today Apple’s new Chadstone store – triple the size of its predecessor – swung open its 4.2-metre-wide bronze pivot doors revealing an interior bathed in natural light, filtered through an enormous grid-style skylight 7.6 metres above the shop floor. (The original Chadstone shop, located elsewhere in the shopping centre, is now closed.)
Central to Apple’s new retail design concept is a series of distinct spaces including a Genius Grove (the upgraded version of the old Genius Bar) where customers get technical support beneath a canopy of native ficus trees; and The Avenue, a strip inspired by famous shopping boulevards where window displays change along with the season. Apple’s interpretation of this old retail idea features interactive, themed windows that display its products and services, and a selection of accessories by other companies.
The Forum is a gathering area with tan and timber stools in front of a vast video wall surrounded by potted trees. This is where the new Today at Apple program takes place, which involves 1000 hours a week of free creative and education sessions. The Boardroom is an intimate meeting space where Apple’s business customers, such as entrepreneurs and developers, can get advice and training.
Apple’s original Chadstone store opened in 2008 with 69 employees. It is one of Australia’s busiest stores and serves roughly 3500 customers a day – 12.5 million since it opened. There are 240 staff members.
The tech company has 22 stores around Australia, five of them in Melbourne. Eventually, each will get the same design treatment as Chadstone.
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