Apple has successfully secured a patent for the cylindrical, glass entrance to its Shanghai store. After trademarking the design and layout of its retail stores last January, this is one more battle Apple has won for copyrighting its signature look.
More on the patented design after the break.
Glass has always played an important role in the design of Apple's retail stores but its Shanghai location celebrates the material like no other with a giant glass cylinder and twisting spiral stair that leads visitors down into the retail space. The patent not only covers the glass but the overall design as well as its method of construction.
The cylinder is composed of curved glass slabs which are designed to meld into a circle when placed side by side. These slabs are connected through a special laminating process that clamps the metal joints to the rest of the pane, ensuring stability as people walk across it. In addition, glass beams strengthen the interior and glass fins hold up the circular roof. Apple's new patent includes the shape and placement of each of these elements since their composition deviates from architectural convention.
Now this brings us back to a question we posed last year: on what grounds can you patent architecture? Is Apple out of line or in the right trying to gain ownership over its architectural forms and processes? Let us know what you think!