Apple Creates New Retail Experience With Floating Sphere-Like Store That Sits Directly On Water

NEWS: 09.10.20 – The newest Apple retail store in the world is opening today on the waters of a bay in the central business district of an island city state in Southeast Asia.

Just when the people of Singapore thought it was safe to go back into the water, a floating sphere-like object has surfaced above the waters of its Marina Bay. The massive structure? The new Apple Marina Bay Sands — which opened its doors to visitors today amid a global pandemic, with masks required and social distancing guidelines in place for both customers and employees alike who were inside the store — has been labeled by the Cupertino, California-based company as its most ambitious retail project yet.

Appearing like a floating sphere, Apple Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is the Cupertino, California-based company’s first retail store location that sits on the water. (Photo: Apple, Inc.)

Apple officially announced the new retail store location in Singapore on Monday in a press release on the company’s website:

“Apple today previewed Apple Marina Bay Sands, the first Apple Store to sit directly on the water. Appearing as a sphere floating on the iridescent Marina Bay, the store introduces a new and captivating retail experience at one of the most iconic locations in Singapore. … As Apple’s third retail location in Singapore, the new store creates an unforgettable space for customers.”

Visitors entering the store will encounter just how massive the sphere is, where they will be able to explore curated Apple products and accessories, receive personal technical support from Apple Geniuses, or interact with the nearly 150 Apple team members who collectively speak 23 different languages. “Today at Apple” sessions will be held in The Forum, which will serve as the stage — centered around a Video Wall — featuring Singapore’s artists, musicians, and creators.

Additionally, entrepreneurs and developers interested in receiving training and advice can meet with Apple team members in the company’s first-ever underwater Boardroom which is located on the lower level of the store.

In the press release, the company described the sphere as a first of its kind all-glass dome structure which is fully self-supported, comprised of 114 pieces of glass that are connected by only 10 narrow, vertical mullions. An oculus located at the apex of the dome, which has been inspired by the Pantheon in Rome according to Apple, provides a flooding ray of light that travels through the space. The interior of the glass is lined with custom baffles, each uniquely shaped to counter sun angles and provide a nighttime lighting effect.

Per the company, the new Apple Marina Bay Sands — which is entirely surrounded by water — will offer customers and visitors alike an uninterrupted 360-degree panoramic view of Singapore and its skyline. Trees lining the interior of the dome also allow the city’s green gardens to flow seamlessly right into the store.

Last month, iDrop News, an Apple-centric website, described Apple Marina Bay Sands as the coolest Apple Store ever and reported that for people who thought that Apple Fifth Avenue in New York City was exciting with its giant towering glass cube, it’s, in its own words, old hat, as the company has outdone itself with a new giant floating, glowing orb in Singapore which is emblazoned with the Apple logo.

Per the company’s marketing materials, Apple Marina Bay Sands is being referred to as, “the lantern on the bay.” The new retail store location — Apple’s 512th according to iDrop News — is a gleaming orb resting on the waters of Singapore’s bayfront. During the day, the store’s glass panels reflect the towering skyline of the Downtown Core and motion of the rippling water. At night, the sphere glows with a gentle warmth, evoking the design of traditional lanterns carried during Singapore’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

Also, iDrop News reported that the new store is being described by Apple as a dramatic departure from the design of any Apple Store before it. And, while totally unique, Apple Marina Bay Sands will still offer the signature experience and familiar store features customers have come to expect from Apple’s other locations in Singapore.

Singapore already holds, in iDrop News’ own words, the claim to fame, of having the first entirely solar-powered Apple retail store, Apple Orchard Road, which opened back in May 2017. This was followed by Apple’s Jewel Changi Airport location that opened last year in, according to the Apple-centric website, the famous transportation hub where the world’s tallest indoor waterfall can also be found.

In advance of the anticipated opening of the new Apple Marina Bay Sands, the Straits Times, an English language daily newspaper in the region, reported in August that Apple was set to open its third store in Singapore, noting that it was happening even as the retail and tourism sectors were continuing to be buffeted by the global pandemic.

The newspaper first revealed in March of last year that Apple would be opening two more stores in the region, one at Jewel Changi Airport — which it reported had since opened in July 2019 — and the other at Marina Bay Sands. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, according to the Straits Times, appeared to all but confirm the third store in his visit to Singapore in December 2019 (as Apple Marina Bay Sands had not yet been officially acknowledged by the company and was still in the process of being built), when he said the republic could use a third store as the one on Orchard Road seemed to him to be full.

According to the Straits Times, the dome-like structure sitting on the water off the Marina Bay where the new Apple retail store location is housed in was formerly occupied by the mega nightclub, Avalon, from 2011 to 2016.

In a Business Insider report published at around the same time, which previewed the yet to be opened floating sphere, the website, the largest business news site on the internet, noted that Apple Marina Bay Sands was far from the first Apple retail store to feature a creative design or attention-drawing location. For instance, in October 2017, the company unveiled the then new Apple Michigan Avenue along the Chicago River, a popular tourist destination in the Windy City. Likewise, prior to that, Apple in September 2011 opened the two-story Apple IFC Mall in Hong Kong’s premiere shopping district that features a glass spiral staircase.

According to Apple in its press release announcing the Apple Marina Bay Sands store, the company’s history in Singapore has spanned more than 40 years, beginning with the first corporate office located in the residential district of Ang Mo Kio where in 1981, the team produced the majority of the printed circuit boards for the Apple II computer (designed in California by Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, back home in Cupertino in the United States). Since then, the company has expanded its corporate and retail presence in the region and now supports over 55,000 jobs locally from all across the entire Apple ecosystem.

“We couldn’t be more excited to open the breathtaking Apple Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Our passionate and talented team is ready to welcome this community to our new store and deliver the care and support that our customers around the world love,” said Apple senior Vice President of Retail + People, Deirdre O’Brien, in the release.

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