Apple stores: designed to sell

Apple’s stores are recognizable at a glance. Whether you’re looking at the famous glass cube on New York’s Fifth Avenue or marveling at the skylights in London’s Covent Garden store, it’s always clear that you’re looking at an Apple establishment. As the company prepares to open its newest location in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, reports are surfacing about how, exactly, it has carved out a place in one of the city’s most iconic buildings.

The Apple aesthetic goes beyond some maple tables and some shiny gadgets. In an interview with the New York Times, architect Peter Bohlin said that the New York stores were meant to evoke “great marketplaces,” adding that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was an integral part of the firm’s design plans. In New York, the designers from Bohlin, Cywinski Jackson — a firm that has designed more than a dozen of Apple’s stores — worked hard to make the Fifth Avenue cube enticing to consumers, but simple enough so that it didn’t detract from the goods. In London, the firm had a similar directive but had to work with an existing building. The architects focused on showcasing the building’s essential components and flooding it with light.

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The new store, set to open Friday, presented similar challenges. According to reports of a media walk-through that the company conducted, the store is a vast, airy retail space. Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reported that it has two Genius Bars, 42 display tables, three walls of accessories and “minimal signage.”

The store’s layout is designed to dovetail with Apple’s increasingly decentralized approach to sales, with rooms dedicated to customer set-up services for those who need them. A report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that the shoppers don’t even need to speak with a salesperson to purchase something, but can merely scan a product’s barcode with their iPhone and have the receipt e-mailed to them.

Apple will have 315 employees working in the store, which will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, the company said in a release.

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