Foster + Partners frames underground Apple Store in Shanghai with "active public space"

A multi-level plaza and elevated viewpoint flank this Apple Store, which British architecture studio Foster + Partners has buried below ground in Shanghai’s Jing’an district.

Named Apple Jing’an, the subterranean store is accessed by the plaza that links with existing pedestrian routes in a bid to establish it as an “active public space”, Foster + Partners said.

Interior of Apple Jing'an in ShanghaiInterior of Apple Jing'an in Shanghai
Foster + Partners has completed Apple Jing’an in Shanghai

The project forms part of a wider regeneration plan for the district and aims to improve the connection between Jing’an Park and Jing’an Temple, which can be seen from the viewpoint.

Foster + Partners also directly connected the store to a metro station below it.

Plaza outside Apple Jing'an by Foster + PartnersPlaza outside Apple Jing'an by Foster + Partners
It is flanked by a multi-level plaza and elevated viewpoint

“We are delighted to have been given this great responsibility to create this transformative project for Shanghai,” said head of studio Stefan Behling.

“[It] provides places to sit and relax, drawing people in and respectfully enhancing the setting for the beautiful Jing’an Temple.”

The main entrance Apple Jing’an is from the plaza. Here, visitors descend into the main double-height store, called the Forum, via a stone staircase.

A stone staircase is a feature of several recent Apple Stores – which have been designed by Foster + Partners since 2014 – including Apple Bağdat Caddesi and Apple Sanlitun.

The viewpoint at Apple Jing'an The viewpoint at Apple Jing'an
The viewpoint looks over the adjacent Jing’an Temple

Visitors can also access Apple Jing’an from the metro station, which is linked to the double-height store by curved ramps to maximise accessibility.

The Forum is circular in plan and illuminated by a disc-shaped light in the ceiling that mimics natural sunlight. In the evenings, it dims to emit a warmer light.

This circular plan is mirrored in the ceiling, which is lined with timber and slopes upwards towards the main entrance.

It is also echoed outside in the circular plaza that is designed to reinforce “reinforce a sense of community”, said Foster + Partners.

The plaza is complete with seasonal planting, chosen to visually soften the hardscaping while drawing on the warm hues of the adjacent temple. Meanwhile, the viewpoint, or “skywalk” contains terraced seating from which the public can look out over the temple.

Locally sourced granite, known as Padang Light, lines the plaza as well as the walls and floor of the store, in an effort to blur the boundary between the inside and outside.

Interior of Shanghai shop by Foster + PartnersInterior of Shanghai shop by Foster + Partners
A disk-shaped light illuminates the interior

Foster + Partners was founded by Norman Foster in London in 1967. Its other recently completed Apple Stores include India’s first flagship and one in Battersea Power Station.

Elsewhere, the studio is currently designing an office tower in Hollywood with a series of spiralling terraces and a masterplan for a smart city on Sherbro island in Sierra Leone.

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