When you walk into one of Apple’s more than 500 retail locations around the world, you can be sure you’ll be greeted by the tech giant’s minimalist aesthetic of white walls and sleek screens.
But that’s not all you’ll see in some of Apple’s new stores in Rome, Istanbul and Los Angeles. There, you might find a little more architectural pizzazz.
The new locations, which all opened in 2021, join the pantheon of Apple stores where visitors flock to do more than buy the latest iPhone. Think of the “floating sphere” at the Apple Marina Bay Sands store in Singapore, or the motorized “Solar Wings” balcony at the Apple Dubai Mall store that opened in 2017.
Apple’s penchant for stunning design is nothing new: Decades after Apple opened its first standalone store, a Virginia location in 2001, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ passion for the aesthetic is always reflected in each store. Jobs worked on the ground with designers to create the look of this first Apple store and hired award-winning designers and architects, like Tim Kobe, to help translate Apple’s brick-and-mortar aesthetic across the globe. .
In total, Apple opened a total of 13 new or renovated locations last year. These four – including two in the same city – may well stand out from the rest:
Rome, Apple Via del Corso
For its 17th location in Italy, Apple restored Rome’s Palazzo Marignoli, a 19th-century palace built in the heart of Rome for Italian politician Marquis Filippo Marignoli in the late 1800s. From 1890 to 1955, the building housed the Caffe Aragno, a cafe and restaurant that served as a meeting place for artists and writers in the city, according to Arch Daily.
The new Via del Corso Apple store, which opened in May 2021, features several restored century-old murals, frescoes and other artwork from the original palace, as well as graffiti painted by Italian painter Afro Basaldella in 1950 Apple has also restored the palace’s original facade, as well as a massive marble staircase dating to 1888.
Istanbul, Apple Bagdat Caddesi
For Apple’s third Turkey-based retail location, which opened in October, architecture firm Foster + Partners created what designers call a “green oasis” in the middle of Istanbul.
The store features a tree-lined garden with seating in front of the store’s 32-foot glass facade, which fills the location with natural light. The store also has two skylights that open for ventilation, according to Apple.
The interior has an added hometown touch: locally sourced Apple Aksaray Yaylak granite and Turkish travertine limestone for the floors and walls.
Los Angeles, Apple Tower Theater
Another restoration project was the Apple Tower Theater site in Los Angeles, which opened in June: the building was originally a historic movie theater built in 1927.
Apple restored the space, which had been empty since the theater closed in 1988, renovating its Broadway-style marquee and ornate lobby with a grand, arched staircase with bronze handrails and marble Corinthian columns.
The store’s second floor also features restored balcony seating with a view of the theater’s former auditorium, which now houses a wall-to-wall video screen under the theater’s original archway.