Since being promoted to Chief Design Officer at Apple, there haven’t been many consumer-facing products that Sir Jony Ive has directly been involved in. Hence, it is worth taking a look at the first major contribution from the Brit in his new role: the new Apple Store in Brussels, Belgium.
Ive’s new role at Apple means he is now responsible for virtually every aspect of design at Apple, which includes how its future Apple Stores should look like. The new Brussels store, whilst retaining a classic Apple Store layout, has a distinctly different feel to it as Ive stamps his design ethos into the first of many future Apple Stores.
The Brussels Apple Store features a “dramatic” floor-to-ceiling glass windows, offering plenty of natural lighting. It probably needs it, too, since there are now trees with round benches below it, located at the far end of the store. This seating area is designated for customers waiting for their Genius Bar appointments, though walk-in customers and enthusiasts probably should experience that as well.
There is also a distinct lack of posters or photo panels showcasing the company’s latest products. Instead, there is a single large screen looping footage of the new iPhone 6s when it is not used for training sessions.
However, perhaps the single coolest thing you can find at this store is on the wooden tables where the Apple products are showcased for consumers. While these tables are well-known as Apple Store staples, the new ones at this Brussels store sports a touch-sensitive strip that when swiped across, yields a set of power sockets and ports. Swipe at it again, and these sockets slide away out of view, resulting in a clean and minimalist table design – just the way Ive intends it.
Apple Store Brussels has cool new touch-sensitive tables! pic.twitter.com/yrfR0zh4Z2
— Franklin Schrans (@franklinschrans) September 19, 2015
There are other cool touches around the store as well, such as the hidden drawers that hold third party accessories such as phone covers, or the small fact that the iPod line has been demoted to the Accessories section. The Belgian Apple blog, ANV, has plenty more shots of the store.