Apple's new riverside flagship store on Michigan Avenue has garnered attention with art installations, Saba lyrics and partnerships with local Chicago artists—and it lives up to the hype.
The massive glass-enclosed retail store at 401 N Michigan Avenue overlooks the north side of the Chicago River, just east of the DuSable Bridge. The location was selected to represent the history of Chicago's founding and tie the new store back to Apple's first retail location.
“When Apple opened on North Michigan Avenue in 2003, it was our first flagship store," said Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail. "Now we're back in Chicago and we'll be opening this new store with 250 people."
Architecturally, the store uses the same building material inside and out to connect the plaza to the Chicago River. Apple plans to host various events on barges that extend onto the riverfront to emphasize the area's role as a "town square" of sorts.
The new store is filled with new ideas that Apple is introducing to a retail store for the very first time. There's the Genius Gallery waiting area—long benches for customers to sit and watch Today at Apple tutorials playing on a (nearly) floor-to-ceiling screen, or just take in the view of the river while waiting for a gadget to be fixed. There's also the Boardroom where company executives can rent collaborative meeting space and planned open mic sessions where creatives can share what they learned during Today At Apple sessions.
The store emphasizes the new Today At Apple programming—a series of talks and information sessions on tools, skills and uses for new Apple products. The schedule hits the ground running on Saturday, October 21 at 11am, when artist Matthew Hoffman of the "Life Is Beautiful" project will discuss typographical art. The initiative also includes programming called "The Chicago Series" that is focused on positively impacting the local community, beginning next week.
Take a look at some photos from inside Apple's new digs and see the store for yourself when it opens on Friday, October 20 at 5pm.