World’s first floating Apple Store officially opens Sep 10 at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands
The retail store is a “first of its kind” all-glass dome structure and boasts Apple's first underwater boardroom. And its architecture was partly inspired by Rome's Pantheon.
When Apple Marina Bay Sands opens its doors to the public on Thursday (Sep 10), it will be the world’s first Apple store to sit directly on the water – an eye-catching spherical structure that will boast an uninterrupted 360-degree panoramic view of Singapore’s skyline.
It’s an architectural treat of sorts – the dome was inspired by Rome's Pantheon, for one. And according to Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president for retail and people, this “first of its kind” all-glass dome structure comprises 114 pieces of glass, with only 10 narrow vertical mullions serving as a structural connection.
But more than just bragging rights for local fanboys and fangirls, Apple’s decision to to do it here is an affirmation of the tech giant’s affinity for Singapore.
“We're here for the long term in Singapore,” O’Brien said in an exclusive interview with CNA Lifestyle.
"We are very committed to Singapore and we believe this is a wonderful step forward for Apple and Singapore. We couldn't be more excited to open the breathtaking Apple Marina Bay Sands (here), building on our commitment to this special place that began over 40 years ago”.
It is Singapore's third Apple Store, after the first one opened its doors along Orchard Road in 2017 and its most recent one at Jewel Changi Airport. It’s also Apple's 512th retail shop.
Apple’s history in Singapore began with the tech giant’s first corporate office in Ang Mo Kio 40 years ago – and there’s a fun fact that comes with that. In 1981, the team was responsible for producing the majority of printed circuit boards for Apple II computers worldwide.
Since then, Apple has expanded across the corporate and retail side, and is now responsible for 55,000 jobs in Singapore, between Apple and the Apple ecosystem.
"We really feel a great vibrancy in Singapore," said O'Brien. "There is a collection of really wonderful and incredibly creative people here, so I think you'll find that this (opening in Singapore) has been a huge plus for us."
For those who keep count, Apple Marina Bay Sands will be staffed with 148 employees who collectively speak over 23 languages.
When asked why open this particularly designed store here, O'Brien told CNA Lifestyle: "When we were looking for another opportunity in Singapore, this one (Marina Bay Sands) was just really quite intriguing. And when we really understood the opportunities that this location could provide, it gave us the chance to do something really neat, interesting and different."
So what’s the interior like?
Aside from the oculus at the top of the dome, which allows light to come in, the interior of the glass is lined with custom baffles, which are shaped to counter the daytime glare and provide a night-time lighting effect. There are also 10 trees along the perimeter, providing additional shading and soft shadows through the foliage.
The Forum is centred around the video wall, which will serve as the stage for Singapore’s musicians and creatives. In addition to free future Today At Apple sessions hosted by Apple creatives, entrepreneurs and developers who are interested in receiving training and advice can meet with Apple team members in the company’s first underwater Boardroom, located on the first basement of the store.
Given the current global pandemic, Apple Marina Bay Sands will still be implementing the same rigorous health and safety measures for both employees and visitors and across all Apple retail locations including a mask requirement, temperature checks and social distancing.
Visits to Apple Marina Bay Sands on opening day will be by appointment only, while walk-ins will be allowed from Friday onwards. Customers can visit https://www.apple.com/sg/retail/marinabaysands/ for available times.