Apple has a new concept for a research store it plans to open in Palo Alto, Calif., according to plans approved by the city’s Architectural Review board on Thursday.
Even though Apple isn’t technically the owner of the project, city officials confirmed that it is definitely going to be the tenant of the new 10,700 square-foot building slated to be on University Avenue, a block away from the 6,500 square-foot Apple store that has been located on the street for the last eight years.
Citing documents filed by the city, the Palo Alto Daily News broke that the building will have an all-glass facade. The design is reminiscent of the iconic Apple store located on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which consists of an all-glass cube on street-level with an entrance leading down a spiral staircase to the main retail space underground. The same architectural firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, has been retained for the new Palo Alto project.
The store will also serve a different purpose than traditional Apple retail locations. While it will certainly sell Apple products, more emphasis will be placed on educating individual customers about the companies full portfolio of offerings, and cultivating an Apple community.
“Fully half the function of the store serves to provide education and service to business as well as customer patrons in addition to product sales,” states a memo from the building’s developer. “The store is a commons for the applicant’s [Apple’s] community to gather.”
The glass facade “dissolves the boundary that traditional store facades create,” the same memo says. “By not breaking the horizontal ground plane of the sidewalk with an opaque wall or landscape element, for example, the street is made part of the store’s interior; the pedestrian is in the store before entering it.”
The plans also indicate the inclusion of a large number of skylights to let in natural light, as well as trees within the store itself.
The project will require the demolition of the existing roof and facade of an 86-year-old building that previously housed a home interior goods store.
While VentureBeat was unable to view the planning documents because Palo Alto city offices are closed on Fridays, we were able to speak with Architectural Review Board member Heather Young.
“The design looks to be very nice and will be an asset to downtown Palo Alto,” she said. “It is a well-executed modern design with great attention paid to detail. There is a high level of quality.”
The current Apple store in Palo Alto was the ninth retail location to be opened by the company. There are now 240 such stores around the world.
When asked about the new project, an Apple spokeswoman said, “We’ve made no announcements.”