Memphis is likely not the first locale many people would peg for an iconic brand to open its first next-generation store in its home country. But that’s where Apple has opened a new store design concept that has a massive fine pixel pitch LED video wall as its signature feature.
The store opened last week, and that big video wall looks just like the one I saw late last year in a new Apple store in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates.
Apple Insider reports the store design overhaul was put together by Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts and Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, the guy behind most of Apple’s much-loved and emulated tech designs of the past decade or more.
A patented high-flung ceiling, reports Apple Insider, sports embedded light panels and recessed spotlights that illuminate product display tables below, arranged to maximize floorspace and achieve a sense of openness. The iconic wooden tables, designed by Ive, are new models with motion sensors that operate a motorized flip-up panel hiding electrical outlets and USB ports. The table is rolling out to Apple Stores around the world.
There is also a lot of natural wood in the wall fixtures, notably the headphones section.
On the walls are Apple’s new wooden accessory display installations, dubbed “The Avenue,” which feature a headphone tryout area, as well as shelf space for speakers, docks and other paraphernalia. According to Ahrendts, the drawers, cabinets and other interactive flourishes are designed to simulate the feeling of window shopping on a sleepy street in a small town.
The 37-foot wide LED wall is said to have cost $1.5 million USD, which sounds about right if the pitch on the LEDs is teeny.
When I saw this set-up in Dubai I thought it was slightly odd that the display was almost like a slab plonked at the backwall, and not at all built in. I kinda sorta wrote that off to the local architects and integrators. It didn’t look sloppy, just different. But clearly, that’s part of the intent of the design, given that Memphis looks identical.
I find this interesting because the use of a BIG digital wall like this will inspire copycat design work, which is good news for all the display companies that have placed bets on indoor, or direct view, LED being a big, fast-coming thing.
If it instructs retailers that hanging a few panels from the ceiling and on side walls doesn’t quite do it, and that digital visuals need to have a dominant presence and make a statement through LED or LCD video walls, that’s a good thing.
Like the Dubai store, the creative is simple, high-rez, slowly moving beauty shots of key products.
If you live in the area, the store is the Saddle Creek Apple Store, located on West Street in Germantown.