In Taipei’s young and vibrant district of Xinyi, known for its trendy shops, high-end eateries, and art galleries – as well as the iconic Taipei 101 – the eye-catching new Xinyi A13 Apple store is a welcome (if unsurprising) addition. Designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Apple’s outgoing Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, this second location in Taiwan is part of the company’s ever-growing fleet of glass flagships.
A former car park has been transformed into a serene plaza, accented by water features shaded under camphor trees. Suspended like a low-hanging cloud, a cool mist from several spraying nozzles embedded in the ground offers a respite from the sweltering and humid climate. Mimicking Taiwan’s mountainous landscape, blocks of granite also provide comfortable seating under the cover of shade trees.
The simple pavilion offers a tranquil public space in a busy urban setting. According to Ive, the goal was “to design a public space with a building that was so refined that its presence is hardly felt, yet it makes a positive contribution to the city.”
While Xinyi A13’s landscaping creates the feeling of a public park, passersby will instantly recognize the glow of the Apple sign adorned on three frontages, a gentle – but inescapable – reminder of the tech giant’s presence. Taking cues from Apple Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Xinyi A13’s ultra thin roof evokes a polished Macbook resting weightlessly atop the building. The earthquake-resistant structure is topped by a 77-foot carbon-fibre roof, supported by a pair of cores that bookend the store.
Inside, the bulk of the store is underground. At ground level, a light-filled space reads almost as an extension of the outdoors, inviting visitors in and conveying them to staircases that evoke the marquee stairs at Apple Park (another Foster + Partners project). Downstairs, the sanitized ambiance of steel and concrete is countered with the addition of trees, timber ceilings, and sequoia tables and shelving.
Complementing the infusion of public space, Xinyi A13 is also the first store to introduce artist-led ‘Today at Apple’ sessions. The free sessions are offered on myriad topics, ranging from art, photography, and video, to music, coding, app development and more. These hands on group sessions are designed to “inspire learning and encourage connection” between participants.
Around the world, Apple stores often emanate a sense of branded familiarity – and Xinyi A13 is no exception. However, the introduction of a substantial outdoor public space – one that slides into the building’s elegant interior – makes the project a noteworthy addition to the brand, and to Taipei’s urban core.
Foster + Partners and Jony Ive come together in collaboration to design Apple’s newest flagship, Xinyi A13.