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Apple Awarded Patent for Flagship Store Design

The US Patent and Trademark Office have awarded a patent to Apple for the design of their flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New Yorkreports MacRumors. The patent, applied for by Apple in 2012, applies to the above-ground glass cube, which was originally designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and - after a renovation in 2011 - is made of just 15 glass panels with minimal steel fixings. More on the patent after the break.

Apple Patents Glass Cylinder Design

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.

What Does the New Apple Store in San Francisco Say About Commercial Architecture?

This past May, Apple filed plans to close its existing flagship retail store at 1 Stockton Street in San Francisco and move it three blocks north to one of the city's most popular spots: Union Square. This plan was met with enthusiasm from city officials until they realized that Apple and the store's architects at Foster + Partners were disregarding a beloved bronze folk art fountain by San Francisco sculptor Ruth Asawa that currently occupies the site. Many have also criticized the store's design for being a characterless box of metal and glass that contributes nothing unique to the local landscape, raising awareness of a commercial architecture defined more and more by trademark and less and less by its surroundings.

More on Apple's proposal in San Francisco and the problems of trademarked design after the break.

Trademark Awarded to Apple Retail Stores

Apple has successfully been awarded a trademark for the “design and layout” of their retail stores. Since opening their first in Virginia over a decade ago, their stores have been at the heart of the companies branding; with the late Steve Jobs heavily involved in their design. Since, the growing presence of similar stores, including a familiar Microsoft chain launched in 2009, has left Apple feeling the need to protect its own distinctive style.

More after the break.

Evolution of the Apple Store as Told by Thomas Park

Courtesy of Thomas Park and Apple Inc.
Courtesy of Thomas Park and Apple Inc.

Thomas Park has compiled a gallery of all 357 of Apple’s stores from all over the world.  The images are pulled directly from Apple’s own website and include information about where the store falls among the 357, where it is located and when it was opened.  Park’s initiative was sparked by the desire to detect the evolution in Apple’s strategy of storefront design. Apple’s retail architecture shows the success of closely adhering to design principles in the visual branding of products, the products themselves, and the environment in which they are actually sold.  Apple has a simple, crisp and sleak design that comes through in their products and in their stores and give off the same feeling of reliable design.

More after the break.

Shanghai Apple Store / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Similar to their identifiable products, the Apple stores require a sleek, almost instantly recognizable, aesthetic.  As keepers of the latest technology, the buildings’ minimalist interiors boast a calm and sophisticated demeanor, complimenting, yet not overshadowing, their prized possessions.  It may come as a surprise that the leading architects behind the stores are Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), a firm that had never designed a retail store before Apple and whose principal, Peter Bohlin, winner of the AIA Gold Medal, ironically doesn’t use email.

Bohlin has awed us in the past, especially with Apple’s second Manhattan retail store located on Fifth Avenue.  Turning a tough retail space into a successful masterpiece, the store’s iconic cube, a 32-foot glass structure, marks the store’s entrance and beckons customers down to the retail level which is illuminated with natural light.   And now, BCJ has just unveiled their latest Apple store, and the first of its kind in China which seeks to emulate similar design decisions as the Fifth Avenue project.