by Meghna MehtaAug 06, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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)