Foster + Partners completes Dubai Apple store with kinetic "solar wings" facade

Filigreed carbon-fibre shutters fold around the oriel window of Foster + Partners’ Apple Store in Dubai, shading the shop floor during the day but opening at night to views of the Burj Khalifa.

London firm Foster + Partners based its design of the Apple Dubai Mall on the traditional Arabic mashrabiya, a projecting bay window enclosed by decorative wooden screens.

Set over two floors of the Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates city, the shop’s main feature is its 56-metre-long sweeping terrace that gives views to the world’s tallest building: the 830-metre-tall Burj Khalifa.

Carbon-fibre screens designed to protect the space from the sun pivot out to enclose the space during the day but open to give access to the terrace at night. The movement of these “solar wings” is intended to echo the motion of an eagle flapping its wings.

“The opening and closing of these majestic solar wings is analogous to a delicate ballet recital – but on a monumental scale,” said Foster + Partners’ head of studio Stefan Behling.

“In some ways it is a very spiritual experience, with the sun streaming through them and creating the most delicate and beautiful patterns of light and shade – a seamless blend of technology and culture.”

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