By Michael Steeber

Tabletops: Tastes like chicken



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Michael Steeber
Michael Steeber
Every few days, someone tweets something like this:
A Popeyes restaurant, objectively, does not look like an Apple Store. Yet this same general sentiment has real traction online. It’s perhaps the most popular Apple Store trope after the eye roll-inducing “iWitness” and “no windows” jokes. Why?
A composite image made from 25 random Apple Stores.
A composite image made from 25 random Apple Stores.
Many people have visited just one Apple Store: the one closest to home. Many have never visited a store at all. But unless you’ve ignored… everything for the past fifteen years, you’ve seen at least one TV news clip of people waiting in line for an iPhone or browsing iPads on a white oak table. These little scraps of information contribute to a global, low-level consciousness of the Apple Store aesthetic. Boiled down to its most simple terms, the pop culture Apple Store:
  • has clean lines
  • is bright and white
  • embodies a catch-all form of “minimalism”
  • has wood tables
Because Apple was arguably the first to popularize this style of architecture at scale in a commercial context, the Apple Store itself has come to represent the definition of contemporary design. Saying something has “Apple Store vibes” is just cultural shorthand for saying it looks new.
Understanding the appeal of the Apple brand but failing to grasp what makes Apple Stores truly special beyond terrazzo and stainless steel, other companies beg to be recognized as Apple Store knockoffs. There’s the Apple Store of weed, the Apple Store of weddings, the Apple Store of cars, and the Apple Store of trading cards. These brands reinforce that the idea that to be minimal is to be Apple Store.
Feeling contemporary design fatigue, the “Reject Modernity/Embrace Tradition” crowd has convicted Apple of blandifying the world. This nostalgia-driven accusation is cast at any company that attempts to stay relevant.
It’s easy to do this with any era. Look:
Everything looks like a McDonald’s these days.
Not everything needs to look like the LAX Theme Building!
Restaurants used to be fun and futuristic. Then Pizza Hut came along and ruined it all.
Featured image
Looks like an Apple Store to me.
Photo via Bohlin Cywinski Jackson on Instagram.
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Michael Steeber
Michael Steeber @michaelsteeber

Little stories about Apple's largest product.

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