The new Apple Sunlitun opens in Beijing today, bringing Apple’s most retail design ideas home to China. Customers took the rare opportunity to celebrate the huge new store in a year where small victories are few and far between.
Special thanks to 9to5 MacWeibo readers Sun Yhiang, Kevin W, and Jahjang_ID for sending photos from Beijing!
For a few hours on Wednesday night, the whole arcade of Apple’s retail history in China could be summed up in one frame. Original Apple Sunlitun, stainless steel and cantilever across a walkway, stood next to a brand-new flagship store, its stone and glass walls rising from the adjacent plaza. The old building has been gleaming to the end since Apple opened its first store in China about 12 years ago as workers removed the packaging from the new location.
With a multistory pavilion layout, a public tree-lined plaza and a huge forum for creativity, Apple Sunlitun’s new design places it in the Great. Its transparent camouflage has a top of 33-foot glass panels at the top of the solar roof carrying an iconic weight when packing a symbolic weight. The store has already become the focal point of Taiku Lee Sunlitun Mall and an instant classic among Apple fans.
The store area has two floors, an outdoor space and 185 team members waiting for visitors. Stone stairs, an escalator and a pedestrian bridge make the building accessible from anywhere in the mall. In addition to the south staircase, the sophora extends the length of the staped garden store filled with japonica trees and exotic trees. At the back entrance, a stone patio painted by benches and trees is the outdoor extension of the store’s Genius Support area.
Inside, the first floor of the Apple Sunlitun is divided into two parts. The front of the store is dedicated to 15 product tables and avenues along the walls. The back of the store houses private boardrooms designed for customers and special guests with a unique frosted window for privacy.
Floor Two brings a more quiet place to serve and one day again at the Apple Creative Session. Inside the forum and above the huge video wall visible from the field to draw visitors face the Mall Plaza. The design of the Apple Sunlitoon is comparable in many ways to Apple Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and the parallels continue here as well. The second floor ends in a panoramic veranda overlooking Beijing. The porch steps serve as gallery seats for customers, including genius appointments.
Opening a huge new retail store in the era of COVID-19 is no easy feat. Even in Beijing, which has controlled its outbreak much more successfully than in the US, some Apple fans wondered if they had waited so long for the store to open as planned. Despite the extremely unusual situation, no detail opportunity was found.
Apple has celebrated the arrival of Sunlitun with a wide range of artwork covering windows and a matching online preview. A stunning WeChat article details the design of the store. When the window decor was removed, a gold outline of intricate global patterns was left on top of the glass, creating an effect similar to that of a leaded window. The timeline will fade naturally.
An email placed at the front entrance of the store aimed at the opening is also a completely custom artwork designed with a rich texture and raised Chinese lettering.
Apple fans in Beijing, including masks and hand sanitizers, lined up to see when the store opened just before 10 a.m. Friday. Despite the secrecy just days before the launch date, a packed crowd filled the entire Tyku Lee Sunlitun Plaza.
Apple has 42 stores in mainland China and 5 in Beijing, but there are very few new openings these days. Sunlitun is Apple’s first new store built in China in September 2018 after the Apple Suzuki. It is the only Apple store in the country that is always moving to a completely new structure. Three of the five locations in Beijing now offer the latest Apple Store designs.
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