Grand Opening of Apple's Cotai Central Using 1mm Thick Slabs

The grand opening of Apple’s Cotai Central on June 29th is a striking design never before seen in an Apple Store.
Apple Cotai Central seeks to create more meaningful spaces for the community and providing an alternative urban model for Cotai. Strategically located at the heart of this gaming and entertainment capital, the design makes a humble civic gesture with a large new event plaza in the foreground of the cube. Carved out of a densely planted bamboo forest, the plaza forms an oasis of tranquility, an urban room that draws people into the site, creating pedestrian connections between the
surrounding buildings for the first time.

Apple Cotai Central is the second Apple store in the Chinese district of Macau, and the first with an unmistakable perspective of the Cotai Strip, a clamoring stretch of the city lined with luxury hotels, casinos, and other retailers.
With surging finishing flanking the store’s passage and a bamboo forest reaching out to the roof inside the multi-level building, Apple Cotai Central has an extremely unique design, and stands in absolute contrast with Apple Galaxy Macau.

In addition to enriching bamboo, Apple Cotai Central pioneers a few other design components. The Foster + Partners planned structure highlights 1mm thick chunks of stone that have been overlaid between sheets of glass in Switzerland. The manufacturing process brings a glossy material that creates a surreal, translucent stone wall around the store. The impact enables characteristic light to go through without letting in unforgiving shadows and late morning heat.

Apple Cotai Central is conceptualized as a ‘paper lantern’ that glows mysteriously. Visitors entering the store are treated to a magical experience, surrounded by glowing stone panels that shimmer throughout the day as the sun brings them to life, while at night the cube radiates a warm glow, contrasting against the bright lights of Macau. The first-of-its-kind glass-stone composite façade comprises five layers of glass integrated with incredibly thin layers of stone, which gives the building its distinctive materiality – appearing as translucent stone walls, akin to stained-glass. The structural frame is supported by just three corner columns wrapped in mirrored stainless-steel that reflect the patterns and colors of the façade, dematerializing the structure and blending seamlessly with the surrounding environment. 

Outside of the main sales floor, stone stairs lead to an upstairs gallery with sensational views. Members of the press were welcomed  to the preview of the grand opening, where they toured the facility and the store’s boardroom, which has been finished with photographs of Apple Park, Laptop Fukasawa Hiroshima seats, and an Atollo light among other things.

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