Local bamboo and cast aluminum in Foster + Partners’s Apple store in Tokyo

Inspired by the expressed structural grid of the building, its redefined aesthetic embodies an honesty of materiality, with the beautifully cast aluminum vitrines. Apple Marunouchi, located in the 1973 Mitsubish Building is one of the latest Apple Stores, in collaboration between Apple and Foster + Partners. 

The unique façade of Apple Marunouchi with bamboo trees planted in the vitrines.

Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple said: “I love the simplicity of the space. There is an honesty in terms of how the structure of the buildings, the green bamboo, and the transparent vitrines all come together to form a light-filled volume that is full of life.”

Nestled within the central Marunouchi district in Tokyo, close to one of the city’s most famous parks – the Emperor’s Palace – the store occupies an important urban site.

Visitors alighting at the station have a direct view of the store from across the road, with the main entrance situated along the Route 402. The expressed structure of the high rise unique façade, which is defined by innovative two-story ‘vitrines’ providing a distinctive showcase for Apple. The glass vitrines have been designed to embrace to enhance the existing row of perimeter columns that envelope the store. They are made from aluminum that has been specially cast to obtain the three-dimensional rounded corners.

Local bamboo has been specifically planted in the vitrines to add life and greenery to the spaces within the store as they rise up to conceal the soffit of the upper level.

Mirrored panels along the spandrel on the upper levels further add to the generosity of space, reflecting the bamboo and the vibrant street life of the surrounding area. 

Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners said:’ “We wanted to create a restrained presence amid the bustle of Tokyo, define the boundary of the store and Apple’s presence, offering everyone walking by a glimpse into the store. The structural grid gives the entire column a certain rhythm, while the calm interior is enhanced by the bamboo that lines the perimeter.”

The existing tower structure is rendered with white plaster, a traditional technique used in Japan, to blend in with the rest of the interior spaces. The entrance is fronted by a larger video wall at the far end that marks the Forum, which is situated within a double- height space that offers visual connectivity between the two levels of the store.

Access to the upper level is via a sculptural staircase located to the right of the entrance, which was assembled on site.

Clad with white–painted aluminum and featuring terrazzo treads, the staircases blends in with the white ash timber that adds a sense of warmth to the space. 

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