updated 02:00 am EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
Cuboid above-ground uses huge panes of glass, hides two full floors
The cover has come off the new Istanbul Apple store in Turkey a few days ahead of its official opening on April 5, and revealed a stunning new above-ground glass opening that leads down to a full two-storey Apple Store. The cuboid canopy, which acts as a skylight for the store, uses exceptionally large glass panes surrounded by a shallow pond, and is bound to be as iconic a piece of retail architecture as the company's showcase stores in New York City and Shanghai.
The store is located in the Zorlu Center mall, a high-end shopping destination in the city, and will officially open at 10am local time on Saturday. Reports are that Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Apple CEO Tim Cook will attend the ceremony. The store features two Genius Bars and two full showroom floors, along with a dedicated "family room" and a special-event theater. The store is said to offer 21,500 square feet of space in total, and features another of the company's trademark glass staircases.
This is the first official Apple retail store to open in the country, just five months after it first brought its online stores to Turkey. Cook had promised that the store would feature a design concept not seen elsewhere, and the Zen-like above-ground portion, which employes monolithic panes of glass larger than any seen so far to make it more reflective, would seem to confirm that. Cook and Gül have been discussing plans to modernize Turkey's educational system through the use of a large-scale iPad deployment to the country's students, a proposal potentially worth $4 billion to Apple.
The design of the canopy could signal further development in Apple's plans to use very large glass slabs in some of its upcoming construction projects. The future Union Station store in San Francisco is said to feature two two-storey panes of glass that will slide open, creating a giant doorway. Apple is also planning on using gigantic curved glass slabs to help build its $5 billion "spaceship" Campus 2 project, expected to open in late 2016.
The company is said to be already planning to build a second store in Istanbul in a different location in the Asian section of the city. As of Saturday, the company will officially have a total of 424 retail stores in 16 countries. See the gallery below for more pictures of the Istanbul store.