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Warby Parker, University Village, Seattle

BY CSA STAFF
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Warby Parker goes back to the future — design-wise at its new store in Seattle.

The design recalls the classic library-inspired aesthetic of the brand’s first-ever store in downtown Manhattan, and is outfitted with light oak shelving, spacious marble tabletops and brass detailing.

It also features exposed metal ceiling beams, concrete flooring and skylights.

Once again, Warby Parker has teamed up with artist Geoff McFetridge, who collaborated with the brand on two of its projects in Los Angeles. In Seattle, he did a bright blue mural on the store’s interior, and also a black-and-white one on the exterior.

To date, Warby Parker has opened some 35 stores.

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Apple’s new tree-filled flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

Apple has re-opened its 12-year-old London flagship after a major overhaul that reflects the company’s updated store strategy.

Located on Regent Street, the redone space has an airy look and natural feel, with an open glass façade, high ceilings, oversized windows and plenty of room to move around. The increased ceiling height allowed for the addition of twelve Ficus Ali trees, complete with planters that double as a comfortable place to sit. Two “living” walls are covered with greenery.

The ceiling is covered with custom-made luminous panels that emit a pure, even, white light, and have the capability to absorb ambient noise.

In a notable feature, most of the devices in the store are untethered to the display tables, allowing customers to move freely around with them and even see how they fit in their pockets or handbags. (Phones reportedly set off an alarm if they are taken out of the space and immobilized if not returned.)

The store’s former glass staircase — a signature element in many Apple flagships — has been replaced by two staircases made from sandblasted stone. The staircases lead to a mezzanine level, where customers can get assistance from Apple’s experts (this area replaces the former Genius Bar feature). It’s also home to a meeting space (the “Boardroom”) for app developers, digital entrepreneurs, small business customers and the like.

The design is a collaboration between Apple’s teams, led by chief design officer Jonathan Ive and senior VP of retail Angela Ahrendts, and London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners.

Similar to Apple’s new San Francisco store (also designed by Foster + Partners), the design puts an emphasis on the idea of community and envisions the store as a public, gathering place. Prime space on the first floor is devoted to “The Forum,” a space for live events and Apple’s educational outreach.

“Everything from the vast luminous ceiling to the sculptural stone handrails create an experience that is warm and inviting, providing a calm backdrop for everyone to experience Apple’s incredible products,” said Stefan Behling, architect at Foster + Partners. “It is a place for people to meet and collaborate, and most of all, it will be an exciting experience that goes beyond retail.”

To see more photos of the new Apple store, click here.

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Iowa center sells for $3.4 million

BY Al Urbanski

Rubinstein Real Estate Company has sold the Blackhawk Village shopping center in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for $3.4 million to a private investor. Mid-America Real Estate brokered the sale.

The 65,548-sq.-ft. center includes Chuck E. Cheese’s, Famous Footwear, Key West Fitness, and Dollar Tree.

Cedar Falls, a city of about 40,000 people, is the home of the University of Northern Iowa and is situated in Black Hawk County.


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