Last month saw Kyoto unveiling its very own Apple flagship store. It is located along the main shopping district of downtown Shijō, lined up next to major department store Daimaru.
Prior to its reveal, there have been speculations of an upcoming store due to Apple’s recruitment of employees in Kyoto on their website. Only much later were we teased with a facade of the Apple logo, including the opening date 8.25, on the glass window of the Kyoto Zero Gate building.
Two days before its official opening, Apple finally released some official sneak previews of the store design.
“Where ideas and creativity intersect”
The identity of the store seems to draw inspiration from the latticed streets of Kyoto, at the same time, reminiscent of bamboo-like structures. Home in an ancient city which bridges its rich history to the present, Apple Kyoto hopes to deliver inspiration as a source for future creativity.
This Apple store identity appears to be a unique custom addition for its latest Japan openings, the other being Apple Shinjuku which opened earlier this year.
I really enjoy this additional detail which references the individual characteristics of each store in their own respective cities; bamboo structures for the traditional, ancient capital Kyoto, neon lights for the buzzing nightlife of Shinjuku. As I think it injects a bit more personality into their famed Apple aesthetics, leaving more room for anticipation for the grand opening.
The overall exterior of the store is rather subdued, seamlessly blending in with its surrounding buildings if not for its distinctive Apple logo. Quite a contrast from its more metallic and sleeker counterparts in Ginza and Shinsaibashi.
It is worth noting that windows of the building are “clad in a translucent envelope inspired by Japanese lanterns”, using a lightweight timber frame and special paper as a homage to traditional Japanese houses - Machiya, which has defined the architectural atmosphere of Kyoto for centuries.
Stepping in, the store is comparably smaller than the other Apple stores in Tokyo or Osaka. Perhaps also due to the large amount of people inside due to the hype surrounding its recent opening.
The layout of the interior is typical of any Apple store; streamlined and minimal with their product line-up displayed neatly along heavy wooden tables. The brightly lit ceilings help to open up the space further.
At the back of the store features a carved stone sculptural staircase modeled after similar designs at Apple’s other newer international stores.
Upon accessing the second level, the windows are fitted with wooden frames translucent paper inserts which allows ambient daylight to filter through.
Overall it is a nice and comfortable space, albeit a smaller store. It is also a commendable effort by Apple to weave in subtle elements of traditional Japanese design, with its own minimalist and sleek aesthetic.
All images credit Apple (Inc.)