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Brief Published: 31 May 2016

Apple San Fran: Sustainability, Locality, Edutainment

Apple X Foster + Partners, SF

Showcasing its slowly evolving store blueprint, Apple has opened a local-centric San Francisco flagship that fuses education, entertainment and community.

Located in luxury shopping district Union Square and designed by UK architects Foster + Partners, it presents a less clinical version of its existing stores. Stainless steel and glass are mixed with wood, trees, plenty of natural light, and nods to the local community.

Sustainability is key: ventilated with natural air filtered via in-built technology, the store also runs on 100% renewable energy, partly generated by 130 photovoltaic roof panels.

There are five key areas:

The Forum: An education area centred around a 6K video wall, flexible seating (see also Flexible Store Formats) and daily sessions with local art, music, tech, photography and gaming experts. It occupies more than 20% of the flagship.

The Plaza: A 24/7 outdoor ‘backyard’ area with a restored fountain, free wi-fi and seating for 200. A 50ft living wall acts as a backdrop for live weekly performances by local musicians, as well as talks.

The Genius Grove: A more relaxed, hangout-style version of Apple’s standard Genius Bar helpdesk area – informalised with expansive tables and planters.

The Avenue: A corridor of mini storefronts displaying Apple products grouped by lifestyle activities – music, creativity, gaming/apps and photography – rather than presenting them as solo 'hero' products.

The Boardroom: A conference room for local entrepreneurs to meet the Apple Business Team for advice/training or network with other enterprises.

See also Active FlagshipsTactics for Retailing Tech, and watch out for Local Matters: The Value of Regional Retail Thinking, publishing on July 28.