Steve Jobs, a genius of retail store design, too

“When the architect Peter Bohlin arrived for his first meeting with Steve Jobs, he wore a tie. ‘Steve laughed, and I never wore a tie again,’ Mr. Bohlin recalled,” James B. Stewart reports for The New York Times.

“Thus began a collaboration that has extended from Pixar’s headquarters, completed in 2001, to more than 30 Apple Stores (and counting) around the globe, all with design work by Mr. Bohlin and his firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson — and Mr. Jobs himself,” Stewart reports. “Just as Mr. Jobs transformed the notion of the personal computer and the cellphone, he left an indelible stamp on architecture, especially the retail kind, traditionally a backwater of the profession.”

Stewart reports, “In many ways, the retail architecture is simply the largest box in which an Apple product is wrapped, and Mr. Jobs was famously attentive to every detail in an Apple product’s presentation and customer experience.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Apple stores architecture is obviously Jobs’ taste.

    He liked cube design since at least 1980s (Next Cube).

    Jobs also had idea of a ring office in the 1980s (Foster and others were hired recently to move the idea to the actual building of new Apple’s campus).

    I have got the feeling that the people in the article conceal the degree of Jobs’ participation in “their” design. They did not even mention that Jobs did structure engineering design (he did that from time to time, including for iMac G4) of these famous glass stairs, as well as separate step.

    While I understand that these people want to play on the sad event to gain more respect and client, this attitude does not look dignified at all.

  2. But the building itself – the Ring (or the Spaceship) – would be the monument to Steve Jobs. Given his design ethos, I would imagine him giving a thumbs-down to a monument. Knowing how detail-oriented he is, it’s probably even possible that he has the “no statues” or “no personal memorial” written in his will. Apple will always be monument to Steve Jobs. That it continues to be at the forefront of technology & consumer electronics even without Steve at the helm is the best possible memorial. Happy Steve Jobs Day, California!

  3. There’s a nice video clip of Steve Jobs giving the viewer a private tour of the first Apple retail store (in Virginia, yay!). His enthusiasm and excitement during the vid was evident. It was worth noting that at the time, all the stores were selling we’re Macs and iPods and peripherals like digital cameras. How times have changed in just a few years. No one thought that Apple could succeed in retail (just look at MSFT’s disastrous attempt), but Jobs proved the naysayers wrong and created a place that strengthened the Apple brand while setting new standards for service (and interior design).

  4. Have you noticed that saying the two words Apple Store sound better than any other company retail name and the fact that nobody says store anymore really makes it sound retro also I hope that apple will continue these cOol retail designs everywhere else!

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