There’s been a wee bit of excitement over the opening of the Apple Store in Boston. When you get right down to it, it’s just another Apple Store: as far as I can tell, there’s nothing special in terms of merchandise. It’s the architecture that’s the problem.
As a building, it’s very sleek and modern, and looks nice, and works well…unless it rains.
Keep in mind, this is Boston, not Southern California. More than occasionally, God cries (no doubt over gay marriage), and it rains. Or snows. Or between February and May, schlumps.
I figured that a rainy evening was a good time to check out the store. The first thing is that there is an overhang where you can close your umbrella. Good. Except for the open doors that block the entrance to the store, forcing you to walk outside. Not so bad in May, crappy in March. Then there’s the elegantly designed minimalist interior which has no carpeting. That means that everyone’s umbrella piddles on the floor and leaves puddles everywhere.
So the Apple Store devised a solution: at the door, you have to enclose your umbrella in a plastic bag to prevent umbrella piddling. Of course, this is described as “ensuring your safety.” And it’s environmentally friendly to boot. So now you’re in the store, into which people are tracking dirt and mud–there’s no rug to wipe your feet. Minimalist interiors with light gray floors don’t look so good with mud (and umbrella piddle).
To get between floors, there is a plexiglass staircase with really narrow stairs. Plexiglass and water (not to mention wet shoes). Brilliant. And the staircase spirals in such a way that the narrow part is what you step on when you descend. This is going to work really well the week before Christmas. I saw one person almost fall in the ten minutes I was there. This very well could be an all-you-can-eat buffet for personal injury lawyers.
Like I said, it’s just an Apple Store–not the Beit HaMikdash. And it’s nice having it down the street. But Apple, which prides itself on style and design, needs to hire architects that understand that a building has to work in the environment it’s sited.