“There can be no greater honor and responsibility than to create a new public plaza in Italy. Whose piazzas and urban spaces have always inspired us.” Stefan Behling, head of Studio, Foster + Partners. Italy has always been well known for its plazas and fountains as one of the main attractions to tourists as well as locals. Designing in 2018 apple store fountain in Milan is a very interesting challenge. Foster + Partners decided using glass and water features which represent the modern architectural language.
Apple piazza liberty is an ensemble of two fundamental elements, stepped plaza and a fountain. The stepped plaza reminded us of the monumental Spanish stairs in Rome. Although the earlier has fewer steps and wider tread. Also, the Apple store stairs start from the plaza level and run downwards towards the store below street level.
The stepped plaza is created to act as a new social hub and an outdoor extension of “Today at Apple”. At the end of the staggered steps, a space for a stage is created, backed by a second fountain’s wall of water.
To get into the apple store, visitors enter the fountain through a glass-covered entrance enveloped by the sights and sounds of vertical jets of water. The water jets splash against the 8 m long glass envelope. The design idea is to recreate the experience of the childhood game of running through fountains. During the day, the sun rays filter through the water jets, while at night the glass creates a kaleidoscopic effect.
The project is located off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which is one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Milan.
Polished stainless steel clad cantilevering treads form the stairs that lead to the store. Which resulted in creating a sculptural light installation.
The interior ceiling is designed by the same concept of the amphitheater, with skylights and backlit ceiling panels. It works in an innovative way to combine artificial and natural light. Further, it provides the needed intensity of light inside the store.