updated 08:37 pm EDT, Thu June 12, 2014
Chongqing store to borrow iconic look from Shanghai store, be located below ground
As part of Apple's effort to dramatically increase its retail presence in China over the next two years, a new store intended for the mega-municipality of Chongqing may copy an iconic design from its sister store in Shanghai: a large glass cylinder that serves as a landmark and entrance while the actual store is located below ground. A rendering of the proposed store shows plans for a glass cylinder kiosk entryway, though the store will also have a second entrance nearby.
Rendering of proposed Chongqing store
As with the Shanghai store, the renderings for the Chongqing version place the cylinder in a plaza with foliage and water features, reports ifoAppleStore. Photos obtained by the site show a tall barrier closing off the work area, and an Apple logo in the corner of the below ground construction site. A circular opening suggests that, like the Shanghai store, the new cylinder will serve as the main entrance and likely offer a spiral staircase as a signature feature.
Another reason Apple may be re-using the glass cylinder concept -- apart from its popularity as a landmark in Shanghai -- is that it was granted a patent for the design late last year due to the use of glass laminate technology, AppleInsider reports. The patent in question even lists Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs as one of the inventors. Chongqing is located in the southwestern part of China, about 1,000 miles from Shanghai, meaning the second cylinder store will be in a portion of the country where relatively few will have travelled to Shanghai or seen the original.
Current barricade around Chongqing site
The re-use of the concept suggests that Apple may rely on the cylinder design to be a signature motif for future flagship stores in China. Apple has said it is seeking to triple its official store presence in China in the near future, and also plans to vastly increase the number of resellers and other points of sale in the country.