When you walk into one of Apple’s more than 500 retail locations around the world, you can be pretty sure you’ll be greeted by the minimalist aesthetic of the tech giant’s signature crisp white walls and sleek displays.
But that’s not all you’ll see in some of Apple’s new stores in Rome, Istanbul and Los Angeles. There, you might find a little extra architectural pizazz.
The new locations, which all opened in 2021, join the pantheon of Apple stores where visitors flock for more than just to buy the latest iPhone. Think the “floating sphere” at Apple’s Marina Bay Sands store in Singapore, or the motorized “Solar Wings” balcony of Apple’s Dubai Mall store that opened in 2017.
Apple’s penchant for eye-popping design isn’t new: Decades after opening Apple’s first standalone store, a Virginia location in 2001, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ passion for aesthetic is still reflected in every store location. Jobs worked hands-on with designers to create the look of that first Apple store, and hired award-winning designers and architects, like Tim Kobe, to help translate Apple’s aesthetic into brick-and-mortar across the globe.
All in all, Apple opened a total of 13 new or remodeled locations last year. These four — including two in the same city — might just stand out above the rest:
For its 17th location in Italy, Apple restored Rome’s Palazzo Marignoli, a 19th century palace built in the heart of Rome for Italian politician Marquis Filippo Marignoli in the late-1800s. From 1890 to 1955, the building housed Caffe Aragno, a coffee house and restaurant that served as a meeting place for the city’s artists and writers, according to Arch Daily.
The new Apple Via del Corso store, which opened in the space in May 2021, features several restored century-old murals, frescos and other artworks from the original palace, as well as some graffiti murals made by Italian painter Afro Basaldella in 1950. Apple also restored the palace’s original façade, as well as a massive marble staircase dating back to 1888.
The store features a tree-filled garden with seating in front of the store’s 32-foot glass façade, which fills the location with natural light. The store also has two skylights that open for ventilation, according to Apple.
The interior has some additional hometown flair: Apple locally sourced Aksaray Yaylak granite and Turkish travertine limestone for the floors and walls.
The company’s Apple Tower Theater location in Los Angeles, which opened in June, was another restoration project: The building was originally a historic movie theater built in 1927.
Apple restored the space, which had been empty since the theater closed in 1988, refurbishing its Broadway-style marquee and ornate lobby with a grand arched stairway with bronze handrails and marble Corinthian columns.
The store’s second floor also features restored balcony seating with a view of the theater’s onetime auditorium, which now houses a wall-to-wall video screen underneath the theater’s original arch.