Apple reveals Battersea Power Station store as latest "evolution of the Apple Store"
Technology company Apple has unveiled its latest Foster + Partners-designed store in the recently revamped Battersea Power Station in London, which features updated fixtures and furniture.
Set to open later today, Apple Battersea is the brand's 40th UK store and represents an evolution in its retail design thinking with more of an emphasis placed on accessibility and sustainability.
"We developed this material palette and this fixture set that is really trying to align with like Apple's goals," said Bill Bergeron Mirsky, a global retail design lead at Apple.
"This material palette is new for us, it's an evolution of the Apple Store," he told Dezeen.
Designed by UK studio Foster + Partners, the store is set on the ground floor of the shopping centre within the 1930s Turbine Hall A at the former power station, where the studio also designed the technology brand's offices.
The shop is arranged around four original brick piers and has steel roof supports exposed on the ceiling. On top of this base, Foster + Partners overlaid a revamped fixture set that Mirsky said "will become familiar over time".
Apple Battersea is the second store – after the recently reopened Tysons Corner store in the USA, which replaced Apple's first ever store – to feature the redesigned fixtures.
Around the edge of the store is an oak framework of shelving that was developed with Foster + Partners. The timber structure also defines a space dedicated to watches, a pick-up area and a redesigned Genius Bar.
The Genius Bar has a counter for stand-up service along with a lowered area where people can be served sitting down. Along with its standard Parsons tables, which are made from sustainably harvested European oak, the store also has several lowered tables.
"We've thought about mobility issues across the whole fixture set," explained Mirsky. "We have our traditional Parsons table with our standard height, but you notice that the tables in the back are varied and our new genius bar as well."
"We have a standing height because the team really prefers to stand and it lets them work with more people and then they can stand at the tables, but customers who want to sit or need to sit can actually use these slightly modified tables," he continued.
As part of the focus on mobility, Apple also increased the amount of circulation around the edge of the store.
Along with the timber framework, Apple aimed to replace other more carbon-intensive elements in the store with biomaterials.
The floor, which was first used in the Brompton Road store, was made from aggregates bound together with a bio-polymer, while the acoustic baffles in the ceiling were made from biogenic material.
The acoustic baffles and bright floor form part of a focus on improving visual and acoustic clarity in the store, with a dark band placed around the base of the walls to provide visual differentiation with the flooring.
"Something I want to point out that is really part and parcel of the material palette, but also goes to our universal design, is the contrast in the store," said Mirsky.
"We wanted to make sure we have this really enhanced kind of navigation," he continued. "So the floor is brightened – it helps us with our low energy – but it also makes it so that you can clearly see the table and the walls are defined."
The fixture set, flooring and ceiling baffles were also used at the Tysons Corner store and Mirsky believes the base can create a feeling of familiarity for Apple's customers.
"Each store is really dealt with as a unique circumstance Battersea has this incredible, incredible existing architectural fabric to work in," he said.
"We use the same fixture set at Tysons Corner in a mall setting in America which doesn't have this sort of grand grandiose architecture, but the same fixture set can generate an environment that's very familiar and welcoming no matter where you are."
The store is the latest to open in London, following the Brompton Road store that opened last year, which was designed to be a "calm oasis". Other recently completed Apple Stores include the band's first shop in India and a store in Los Angeles' historic Tower Theatre.