Apple Moving Forward with New Retail Stores in France and Switzerland
ifoAppleStore reports on an article from French magazine Aix en Dialogue noting that Apple is preparing to build an interesting new store in Aix-en-Provence, France. While the store appears to be a relatively small one by Apple's standards, the striking design sees the store set back on a plaza and constructed almost entirely of transparent glass with the exception of the rear wall hiding the back-of-house operations.
According to AixEnProvence.fr magazine, the current tired-looking tourism office on the south side of Place du General de Gaulle will be demolished and the Apple store will be constructed at the site. A rendering posted by the magazine shows a one-level structure set back on a broad stone plaza, with a tan-colored rear wall, and all other encompassing walls made of glass. A second rendering shows the store is an extension of a design roughly based on the Upper West Side (NYC) store.
Reports indicate that the new store, which is also depicted with a low-profile fountain on the plaza, could open by late 2012 or early 2013.
Meanwhile, Macprime.ch reports [Google translation] that it has obtained access to Apple's plans for its first retail store in Basel, Switzerland. The company recently revised its plans for the store to meet the requirements of planning officials, and with the current tenant having vacated the location late last year Apple is nearly ready to begin construction on the new store, which would be the company's fourth in Switzerland.
The two-level sales floor of the forthcoming store measures in at a modest 460 square meters (close to 5,000 square feet), with a nearly equal amount of space dedicated to back-of-house operations such as storage and a conference room, as well as building systems. Schematics for the store show a staircase in the rear of the store for moving between the two sales floors, with the ground floor hosting twelve display tables and the next level hosting several other display tables and what appear to be a pair of 12-seat Genius Bars.
Given that Apple will be tearing down the current building to construct the new Basel store, the location is unlikely to open until 2013.