For years Melburnians have wondered – and complained – about the lack of an Apple store in the city centre, with the tech giant's Melbourne locations restricted to suburban shopping centres. Until now.
Apple has revealed Federation Square as the location for its first Global Flagship Store in the Southern Hemisphere. It's only the second of this kind of Apple store to open outside of the US – the other is in Milan – and the fifth worldwide.
"This isn’t just any regular Apple shop," Fed Square says on its website.
"We’re thrilled to move forward in the planning process for our new home in Melbourne’s Federation Square and would be honoured to call the world-class galleries and museums of Melbourne our neighbours,” Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, said in a statement.
"Apple Federation Square respects the original vision for the plaza, with a bespoke design concept and extensive landscaping bringing increased opportunities for the community to enjoy this renowned cultural hub.” “We will create a destination for the community to gather, a place to shop, to be inspired, to be entertained and educated”, she said.
Donald Bates – the original architect of Federation Square – has given his approval for the new two-storey design.
The news was met by severe public backlash, given the flagship would replace the Koori Heritage Trust building in Federation Square. Some objected to the commercialisation of a treasured public space, while others simply disliked the design of the store.
More than 100,000 people have already signed various online petitions to block Apple from building the Federation Square store.
Refined designs have now been submitted to planning minister Richard Wynne to replace the first pagoda-style design, according to information released by Victoria’s department of economic development.
At first glance, the new design for the store – tweaked over a series of four workshops between February and May this year involving Fed Square, the state government, Melbourne City Council and Apple – is reminiscent of the geometry of an iPhone or iPad.
The meetings included presentations from Donald Bates, whose LAB Architecture Studio designed Federation Square, and Apple architects Foster & Partners.
The new store will be smaller and lower in height; the eastern and western terraces have been removed; and new solar shading has been added to enhance energy efficiency.
The flagship will be entirely powered by renewable energy (via rooftop solar panels) and its construction will create 500 square metres of new public space, according to Federation Square.