Chicago’s New $27M Apple Town Square Resembles a Giant MacBook



No, we will not call Apple’s new Michigan Avenue flagship opening October 20th a store. Why? Because Angela Ahrendt, Apple’s senior vice president of retail told us not to.

“Call them town squares,”

she said..

With that one statement, Angela showed dying retailers how retail should be done. It’s about getting back to human connections.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple broke ground on the 20,000-square-foot space in early 2016, and according to the Chicago Sun Times it features a 14-foot-high glass box entrance, with a grand staircase leading down to the riverfront.

“Our team has designed a spectacular pavilion that seamlessly connects the plaza to the promenade as a part of the city’s plan to transform the Chicago riverfront,”

said Angela during Tuesdays Apple’s annual keynote address. In typical Apple fashion, the new flagship combines form and function — capped with a curved roofline that resembles the lid of its Macbook laptop computer.

(Photo by Alexandra Wimley/Chicago Tribune)

Having jumped to Apple in 2014 after eight years as CEO of Burberry, Angela is making Apple shine again, and revitalizing their enormous retail business.

“I don’t want to be sold when I walk into a store. Don’t sell! No! Because that’s a turn off. Build an amazing brand experience, and then it will just naturally happen,”

Angela told Fast Company.

Apple is a brand that has a magical quality and the strategy behind redesigning its biggest locations for the first time in 15 years is because Angela wants consumers to say,

“Hey, meet me at Apple,”

just like they do at Starbucks. The new look and feel is meant to turn Apple retail into a community based town square where small business owners and startups meet to get advice from developers and entrepreneurs.

“I think that’s where the human communication comes in..”

Angela has said.

“I don’t care how advanced technology gets. I don’t think that there’s anything that can replace looking someone in the eyes, touching their hand, you know?

So I do think that it’s getting back to this incredible human connection and – isn’t that how incredible things happen as well?”

In this world of connecting and networking through different media outlets rather than human connection as the norm, it’s refreshing to have a retrospective, yet arguably natural perspective encouraging human connection.

Angela’s opinion, reflecting Apple’s years of connecting with their loyal audience, speaks to Chicagoan’s as the voice of what we’ve been unknowingly yearning for for years; encompassing our innate desire to reconnect with others on a human level while at the same time giving us the opportunity many others frequently offer while taking away the former — remaining relevant in an online society.