"Every time we open a store we're giving a gift to the community" – Stefan Behling on Apple, The Dubai Mall
In conversation with the Apple store architect
Welcome to Apple, The Dubai Mall. As the newest standalone concept store for the tech giant, this retail space is nothing short of award-winning. Set over two stories with floor to ceiling glass walls, which open out onto unparalleled views of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, Apple is set to be the space for creatives across the Middle East.
Speaking exclusively to Buro 24/7 Middle East about the design of the store, Stefan Behling of Foster and Partners, the architects behind the Apple store, says: "I think what is unusual, is that most of the stores here in The Dubai Mall look inside the mall and their façade is from the other side. We made the big decision to do not just the opposite, but to say: 'Let's literally talk to Dubai'."
According to Behling, the carbon fibre wings, which make up the exterior façade of the building, are made from the same materials as Formula 1 cars. "So they're very high-tech. They move and they close off the whole store." Designed to create shade and movement simultaneously, the concept took five years to create (three to find the right location and two to design) and today, the store represents a new retail experience.
Another core component of the store are the dedicated common spaces. "This is not a store," continued Behling. "It's a place where hopefully, people from Dubai will come to get information, be inspired and treat it like a community hub. Basically, people don't need to go to a shop to shop. You can shop online. So, to do something this big, you have to think why are we here? Why are we doing this? This is Apple's philosophy."
Then, when asked about the achingly obvious juxtaposition of artifical light versus the natural daylight space that The Dubai Mall was designed around, Behling says: "Traditional retail usually says give me a dark space, give me a spotlight on the watch, on the diamond ring, on the shoes, so that people can just focus on the product and buy it. But we don't need to try to trick you. Apple sells itself."
Go inside the Apple store now...
Apple, The Dubai Mall officially opens on April 27, 2017. Also, don't miss the launch of Apple's first video-editing app, Clips.