Apple opens floating store designed by Foster + Partners in Singapore

Foster + Partners' design for the new Apple store in Marina Bay, Singapore, is a floating dome-shaped glazed structure that celebrates light.

by STIRworld Published on : Sep 18, 2020

Floating on the waterfront of Marina Bay, Singapore, the new Apple store designed by Foster + Partners has opened to the public. Apple Marina Bay Sands was a close collaboration between technology giant Apple’s design teams and the integrated engineering and design team at Foster + Partners. The dome-shaped store plays with scintillating light, producing an ethereal presence on Singapore Bay.

The illuminated store creates an ethereal presence on Singapore Bay | Apple Marina Bay Sands | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The illuminated Apple store creates an ethereal presence on Singapore Bay Image: Finbarr Fallon

The structure mirrors the colours of the surrounding water and sky during the day, while in the evening the calm interior lighting provides a soft glow, heightening the magnificent experience of the city’s panoramic skyline. Reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, the 30-metre-diameter dome features a semi-opaque oculus that floods the store with an impressive streak of light.

  • The 30-metre diameter dome features a semi-opaque oculus | Apple Marina Bay Sands by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    The 30-metre diameter dome features a semi-opaque oculus Image: Finbarr Fallon
  • In the evenings, the calm interior lighting provides a soft glow | Apple Marina Bay Sands | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    In the evenings, the calm interior lighting provides a soft glow Image: Finbarr Fallon

Gently sitting on the water, the fully glazed structure and its dark glass base appear to be light, the material selection and scale complementing the neighbouring pavilions. Concentric sunshade rings diffuse and reflect incident radiation, diminishing in size as they progress upwards. The multifunctional shades seem to dematerialise the structure, while also serving as sound absorbers.

Concentric sunshade rings diffuse light and absorb sound | Apple Marina Bay Sands by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
Concentric sunshade rings diffuse light and absorb sound Image: Finbarr Fallon

A rounded stone entrance flanked by Apple’s signature Avenue display greets visitors into the store, leading them to a set of dramatic escalators that take visitors on a “kaleidoscopic” journey to the heart of the domed space.

  • The escalators take visitors on a “kaleidoscopic” journey | Apple Marina Bay Sands by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    The escalators take visitors on a “kaleidoscopic” journey Image: Finbarr Fallon
  • The fully glazed structure and its dark glass base appear to be light | Apple Marina Bay Sands | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    The fully glazed structure and its dark glass base appear to be light Image: Finbarr Fallon

In praise of Singapore, a city leading the green architecture revolution, plants flow along the promenade and into the store, with ten trees outlining the interiors, providing further shading and delicate shadows through the foliage. Leather-coated planters also serve as cosy seating where visitors can savour the ambience of the store and the phenomenal views of the bay.

  • A promenade leads visitors into the tree-filled store | Apple Marina Bay Sands by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    A promenade leads visitors into the tree-filled store Image: Finbarr Fallon
  • The panels of glass are picked to meet Singapore’s glazing indices | Apple Marina Bay Sands | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    The panels of glass are picked to meet Singapore’s glazing indices Image: Finbarr Fallon

Structurally, the dome functions as a hybrid steel and glass shell, the grid of steel sections supporting the weight of the glass and shading. A total of 114 curved structural glass panels hold the steel elements laterally and stiffen the overall frame against lateral loads. The interiors are kept cool using integrated solar shading devices and indoor trees. The panels of glass are meticulously picked to meet glazing indices as prescribed by BCA Green Mark, Singapore’s own sustainability rating system.

  • The glazed dome functions as a hybrid steel and glass shell | Apple Marina Bay Sands by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    The glazed dome functions as a hybrid steel and glass shell Image: Finbarr Fallon
  • The architecture is a delicate interplay between transparency and shade | Apple Marina Bay Sands | Foster + Partners | STIRworld
    The architecture is a delicate interplay between transparency and shade Image: Finbarr Fallon

“Apple Marina Bay Sands is all about the delicate interplay between transparency and shade. The structure dissolves the boundary between the inside and outside, creating a minimal platform that floats gently in the water, looking out over the bay and the spectacular Singapore skyline,” shares David Summerfield, Foster + Partners.

(Text by Ankitha Gattupalli, intern at stirworld.com)

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