- Architects: Foster + Partners
- Location: Financial Centre Road – Downtown Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
- Project Year: 2017
- Photographs: Nigel Young
From the architect. Apple Dubai Mall is reinventing the traditional introverted idea of mall-based retail as a more outward looking experience that engages with the spectacle of urban life. Its design is a highly innovative response to the culture and climate of the Emirates, while also demonstrating Apple’s pioneering ambition to create inspirational civic spaces for all.
Located in Dubai Mall – one of the most visited urban centres in the world, attracting over 80 million visitors every year since 2014 – the new Apple Dubai Mall occupies the most pivotal position in the city, alongside the iconic Burj Khalifa and overlooking the famous Dubai Fountains. Spanning over two floors, it embraces the theatre of the fountains with a sweeping 186-foot (56.6 metre) wide and 18- foot (5.5 metre) deep terrace – a first for any Apple Store – with unparalleled views of the spectacular setting and the incredible choreographed display.
The design of Apple Dubai Mall is a celebration of the sun, using the abundant daylight to create a special ambience within. Reinterpreting the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya, innovative, ‘Solar Wings’ gently shade the outside terrace during the day and open majestically during the evening to reveal the ‘best seat in the house’ with a breath-taking view of the waterside promenade and fountains. With their movement path inspired by a falcon spreading its wings, the ‘Solar Wings’ are in itself a theatrical experience – an integrated vision of kinetic art and engineering. The wings have been carefully crafted to inspire delight, a delicate combination of form and function.
Made entirely of lightweight carbon fibre, each wing has multiple layers of tubes forming a dense net. Following an in-depth study of sun angles, the rods have been distributed in higher concentration where the solar radiation is the most intense over the year. The unique pattern allows clear views out for people standing on both levels of the store, and the sunlight streaming through the wings casts dappled shadows deep into the interior.
Access to the store is through full height, glazed pivoting doors on both levels, directly from Dubai Mall. The Avenue, a specially designed area for accessories display, on the lower level along with Apple’s signature display tables sits in the midst of a grove of trees, creating a calm environment to experience Apple’s latest products. Apple Dubai Mall will also launch Apple’s new global in-store experience, ‘Today at Apple’ – where New Creative Pros, the liberal arts counterpart of Apple’s technical Geniuses, will offer individual advice and training on photography, filmmaking, art and design and more.
The new shaded terrace features nine substantial trees within large planters incorporating seating for visitors to sit, relax and enjoy the view. The planters will rotate mechanically to ensure that the trees receive even sunlight. The terrace will offer the communities of Dubai a new vantage point – furthering Apple’s commitment to the communities they are part of.