simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Glass
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Thursday, 12 April 2007


I'm really quite awed by the design, engineering, material selection and attention to detail that went into this Apple Store at 103 Prince Street in SOHO. The beautiful two-story neoclassical building was built in the 1920s and occupied by the Post Office until 1999 when Restoration Hardware briefly occupied it until 2001. Apple opened there July, 2002. The importance of design aesthetic to Apple is evident in this store, which received an architectural award in 2003 (as have the design firms involved - Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Ronnette Riley.) The most striking feature of this store (and other Apple Stores) is the use of glass, particularly the 15-foot high glass staircase, with its acid-etched diamond-plate treads. The staircase, which actually received a design patent with Apple CEO Steve Jobs listed (copy of the patent here), was designed by structural engineer James O'Callaghan, now a partner with Brian Eckersley at Eckersley O’Callaghan Structural Design. An enormous amount went into the design with considerations for weight loads, wear, seismic protection and joinery with titanium hardware. Depp Glass (NY) manufactured the staircase components, the titanium hardware was manufactured by Tripyramid Structures Inc. (Mass.) and the fabrication, installation and safety tests were performed by Seele GmbH & Co. of Gerthofen, Germany. Click here for a thorough detailed article. Glass is also used for the stair sidewalls, a bridge (connecting the two sides of the upper floor) and the 70-foot skylight. Lead architect Peter Bohlin explains that glass elements are used not only for structural ingenuity, but also because they capture the design of Apple's products: "From the point of view of the attitude and spirit of the store, it is the pure expression of a quality associated with a company that makes these very beautiful, rather pure products." Glass elements and white Corian fixtures are juxtaposed with wood for warmth - maple is used for benches, tables, counters, shelving and the backs to the seating in their theater, used for presentations, classes and events. The unique Pietra Serna stone floor in dark gray is also striking. If you love glass as I do, visit this store along with their Fifth Avenue location, the subject of two previous postings (click here and here) ...


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