Tabletops: Apple Myeongdong opens

Michael Steeber
Michael Steeber
In this issue of Tabletops: Apple Myeongdong opens, a new store is coming to Wuhan, China, and info about an exclusive event happening at Apple Fifth Avenue.
The details you've been waiting for.
The details you've been waiting for.
Apple Myeongdong opened on Saturday in Seoul, and there is, as they say, a lot to unpack here. “Largest store in South Korea” barely scratches the surface. Let’s study some of the surprising details with a macro lens.
via SeongJoon Cho on Instagram
via SeongJoon Cho on Instagram
Sculptures
via 2_daehyeon on Instagram
via 2_daehyeon on Instagram
There are two landscaped pocket gardens with commissioned sculptures by artists Jaehyo Lee and VAKKI bordering the entrances to the store. Permanent installations like these are pretty rare for Apple, with the exception of Ruth Asawa’s San Francisco Fountain (which predates Apple.)
Vakki and her sculpture at Apple Myeongdong.
Vakki and her sculpture at Apple Myeongdong.
Vakki shared some of the creative process behind her sculpture on Instagram, including this incredible shot of the installation arriving at the store:
Apple Pickup
via The Edit
via The Edit
There is an absolutely librarial Apple Pickup zone tucked into a corner of the store opposite the staircase. Seriously, look at all of these aisles:
via YeomPD on YouTube
via YeomPD on YouTube
We’ll talk more about Apple Pickup in an upcoming issue of Tabletops.
Boardroom
via th_gypsy on Instagram
via th_gypsy on Instagram
Apple Myeongdong has one of the most unique Boardrooms of any store I’ve seen. In addition to pinstripe glass and an extra tall ceiling, ethereal lamps float above.
I know why you’re here, so I’ll cut to the chase: the light fixtures are custom lamps based on the DOT collection, which was designed by Foster + Partners and is sold by Lumina. The shades incorporate Korean paper (hanji) reflectors.
Sidenote: The fire extinguisher is here:
via TongTongTv on YouTube
via TongTongTv on YouTube
Avenues
via moments.by.dy on Instagram
via moments.by.dy on Instagram
Avenues with rear-facing graphic panels and large glass windows form the border between Apple Myeongdong and the public corridor. This is only the second example of Avenue fixture-as-structure that I can recall. At Apple Al Maryah Island, Foster + Partners noted that its Avenues function as staircase walls.
Tidbits
Souvenir stickers via Gyeongbeom Lee on Instagram
Souvenir stickers via Gyeongbeom Lee on Instagram
via twinmacx, moments.by.dy, and Gyeongbeom Lee on Instagram
via twinmacx, moments.by.dy, and Gyeongbeom Lee on Instagram
For an even closer look at Apple Myeongdong, I highly recommend this YouTube walkthrough by YeomPD and commentary by Foster + Partners.
Apple Wuhan
Apple will soon open a new store in Wuhan, China. It’s the first Apple Store in China’s Hubei province and 44th in mainland China. The store is located on the second level of Wuhan International Plaza, an enclosed shopping mall.
Many Americans first heard the name “Wuhan” in early 2020, so a negative association between this store and the pandemic is inevitable in social media discourse and news reporting. This is a delicate opening for Apple to communicate outside of China.
Let’s take a look at the timeline and try to preemptively separate fact from fiction:
  • International travel to China was difficult throughout much of 2020, limiting the capacity of Apple’s real estate and design teams to plan and build this store.
  • According to official documentation from the Hubei province, the Apple Wuhan project was submitted for approval in August 2021 and construction began in September 2021. This means that the store design was already complete, the space in the mall was leased and cleared for Apple, and teams were assigned to work on the project.
  • Hiring for Apple Wuhan began in August 2021. This is the moment a store essentially “goes public.” It’s usually one of the last major steps in a project.
  • The store rollout number is R575. Rollout numbers follow a loose chronology and can give an indication of how long a project has been cooking internally. For reference, Apple Myeongdong is R738. R571, R572, R573, R574, R576, and R577 — all in China — opened between August 2014 and January 2016.
It’s also worth considering that Hubei, a province with nearly 58 million people, has no Apple Stores. If not now, when?
Exclusive at Apple Fifth Avenue
This Wednesday, Apple Fifth Avenue will host an exclusive Today at Apple session with some very special guests.
Pamela Chen and Della Huff from the Apple Camera and Photos team and Billy Sorrentino from the Apple Design team will offer hands-on macro photography tips and share their favorite photos from the macro photography Shot on iPhone challenge.
This is a bucket list event for all passionate iPhone photographers. Sign up.
Featured image
Apple Georgetown
Photo via hugothecuddlepup on Instagram.
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Michael Steeber
Michael Steeber @michaelsteeber

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