In the heart of Milan, Apple is making final preparations to open their 17th store in Italy. The new location will be the first in the country to fully embrace the idea of Apple stores as modern day town squares, an initiative rolled out in conjunction with the company’s new store design.
Apple Piazza Liberty, named after its location in a historic plaza bordered by other premium retailers, boasts a noteworthy compliment of architectural features differentiating it from any previous Apple store. The design begins with an expansive, outdoor amphitheater that steps downward from the plaza toward fountains that create a stunning wall of water. The waterfall, symbolizing Milan’s connection to canals, also serves as the store’s entrance. Visitors will descend through the fountain to the subterranean store floor below, where 230 employees are expected to work. The outdoor space will be used to host community events like summer movies and Today at Apple sessions. Apple wants the square to become a place where friends come to relax, chat, and discover new interests.
Today’s announcement comes via a new interview with Apple’s retail SVP Angela Ahrendts published by Io Donna, an Italian women’s magazine. According to Ahrendts, a grand opening will be held on July 26th. Like Apple Fifth Avenue in New York City, the store will be open 24 hours a day. A campaign featuring 21 local artists under the marquee “What Will You Do Tomorrow, Milan?” is expected to headline Piazza Liberty. The Milanese expansion has been highly anticipated by both Apple and the residents of the city since last spring when a teaser page for the store was posted on Apple’s retail website with renderings of the Foster + Partners-designed fountain and amphitheater.
Both Piazza Liberty and the underground space that will house Apple’s sales floor are culturally signifiant to Milan. The plaza itself was named…