18 Carbon fiber wings grace Foster + Partners-designed Apple Dubai Mall terrace

The store’s large terrace provides views of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain.

May 03, 2017 |

Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners

The recently completed Apple store located in the Dubai Mall is about more than just showcasing Apple’s products. Foster + Partners wanted to reinvent the traditional introverted idea of mall-based retail and replace it with one that’s more focused on looking outward at the surrounding urban landscape.

For this reason, Foster + Partners and the Apple design team decided to incorporate what is arguably one of the most impressive urban landscapes in the world into Apple Dubai Mall. Chief among the aspects turning the Dubai Apple Store into an outward looking experience is the 186-foot wide and 18-foot deep terrace. The terrace incorporates nine trees that sit in large, rotating planters that ensure each tree receives even sunlight. Seating for visitors is built into the planters. No other Apple Store in the world has a terrace like this, and it becomes even more unique when its views are taken into account.

The terrace provides views of the Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain, and the Burj Khalifa, the World’s tallest building. The terrace is also home to what Foster + Partners claims to be one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations: a reinterpretation of the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya. These Solar Wings shade the outside terrace during the day and open during the evening to connect visitors with the city. The architect calls the wings an “integrated vision of kinetic art and engineering” and says the motion of a falcon spreading its wings inspired the movement path.


Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners.


The wings are made entirely from carbon fiber and consist of multiple layers of tubes that form a dense net. This net of 340 carbon fiber rods allows people on both levels of the two-level store to see out, while the sunlight coming in is filtered and casts crosshatched shadows deep into the building’s interior. There are 18 wings in total and they take one minute to open or close. Each wing is 37.5-feet-tall and 10-feet-wide but weighs just one ton.

Customers can enter the store directly from Dubai Mall through full height, glazed pivoting doors on both levels. The lower level of the store is home to The Avenue, a specially designed area for accessories display. This area has a typical Apple Store look with display tables holding the latest products Apple has to offer. In addition to the “Genius Bar,” Apple Dubai Mall will have space to launch Apple’s new program “Today at Apple.” This program will employ “Creative Pros” that offer customers advice and training on photography, filmmaking, art, and design.

Apple Dubai Mall opened on April 27.


Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners.


Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners.

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