There is seemingly no limit to the manipulations that Apple store designers will make to ensure that the various elements of construction are aligned and pleasing to the eye. What looks like a simple retail storefront is actually a carefully designed, measured and constructed assemblage of glass, cement, metal and stone whose edges correspond. One of the best examples of Apple’s design craftiness is the just-opened 4th Street (N. Calif.) store, where the new sidewalk, store window panels and inside stone floor tiles all are dimensioned and positioned to present a symmetrical appearance. In this case, the master element is the stone floor tiles, which are 76 centimeters square (about 30 inches). The glass window panes are then manufactured to a multiple of that dimension. Outside, Apple routinely installs a new sidewalk in front of its street-facing stores. In this case, the sidewalk was made with contraction lines that are also multiple of the stone tile dimension. When all the painstaking design and construction work is finished, passersby and store visitors “see” the effect, but probably don’t realize why the store is so attractive.
This diagram shows how the various elements of an Apple store are arranged to create symmetry and alignment. Click the diagram for a larger view.