05 July, 2006

What do Apple stores and libraries have in common?

Peter Bohlin, is a principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects. They are the creators and designers of the Apple stores around the world which are opening at a rate of one every nine days. Bohlin believes there are parallels between these stores and libraries. Both need transparency – making the inside visible outside, and the outside visible inside. He talked about making places that are magic to be in, places where people love to be. The Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York is open 24/7 and it does look magical, with its glass walls soaring up above street level, floating over the underground store with the suspended Apple hanging in the space. See more pictures at http://www.apple.com/retail/fifthavenue/gallery/

Peter Bohlin showed us the way they prototype the stores, building them in warehouses and trying them out before fitting out the actual sites. He talked about how they make learning fun and irresistible, with stores holding classes on different topics such as how to use your iPod; or where people can come with their ideas and get help to enhance their Mac projects, with teams of “Creatives” teaching one-on-one how to re-touch photos, compose music and make movies. It’s a whole different take on retail stores, especially as Apple could simply sell their products online if they chose. But instead they are creating these beautiful new stores in prime real estate as physical places for people to come and interact; and enable them to learn. Just like what libraries want to do!

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