Store Closing For Remodel, Security Add-On

April 26, 2011

One of Apple’s oldest retail stores will temporarily close May 2nd for one week while workers replace the ceiling and floor at the Easton Town Center store with the most recent designs, and install a roll-down security screen over the front door. The street-level store opened as #7 in September 2001, featuring an entrance flanked by black metal pillars and twin back-lit Apple logos. Many of the early stores with the black metal design have since been upgraded to stainless steel, including the first and second stores at Tysons Corner (Virg.) and Glendale Galleria (S. Calif.). But about 20 stores still feature storefront with twin logos, which throb after closing like Macintosh laptop logo used to do. Likewise, several stores still have wood floors and the original ceiling design, which has been changed to stone and one-piece plastic material respectively. More significant is the security grating, which for aesthetic reasons has been installed only at a few stores that already have doors.

There are several combinations of storefronts that dictate how the entrance to the store is architecturally and mechanically designed, including the security features.

Stores are either inside an enclosed shopping mall, or have an outside storefront at an enclosed or open-air mall. Stores are also located along city streets or private Main Street-style lifestyle centers.Early store entrances were flanked by black metal and logos and had no doors. These stores were secured with a roll-down grating. Most of the mini-stores that opened inside malls in 2004 also featured an entirely open storefront that was secured at closing by a roll-down grating. Other early stores were secured with traditional double glass doors.

The most recent entrance design for mall stores is either entirely open and secured by a grating, traditional swinging doors or—the preferred method—sliding glass doors. The choice is apparently based on building code requirements, the underlying structure of the building and space limitations. Several of the high-profile stores are set in historic buildings and have custom entrances that are very unque.

Security Features

About half of Apple’s store are located inside shopping malls or other buildings, and after hours they require little protection from late-night burglars. The other stores are located outside and are vulnerable to some degree to window smash burglaries. A very few of these stores have a full security grating, mostly because it would substantially detract from an nighttime architectural design that is very deliberately designed.

Specifically, the Apple stores have a lighting system and plan that is intended to advertise the brand and highlight the store’s beauty. Upon closing, the interior lighting is reduced but full lighting remains for the back-lit Apple logo. At 11 p.m. the interior lighting is then switched to only the rear Genius Bar logo.

Placing a grating at the front of the store would prevent a full view of the store through the front windows and change how the lighting appears.

In addition, various electrical, fire sprinkler and other mechanical components are located in the ceiling at the front of the store, complicating the installation of an overhead rolling security grating. According to diagrams from Cornell Ironworks, a Pennsylvania-based company that has provided Apple store gratings, an overhead door would require a 6½-inch slot in the ceiling and 22″x31″ space above the ceiling for the grating roll, motor and other components.

Download (pdf) a copy of the Cornell Ironworks drawings for a 30-foot wide grating.

The rear view of a typical 30-foot wide security grille shows how the components are arranged for installation.

This side view of the top portion of a typical security grille shows the components above the ceiling and the spacing required.

In this security grate installation at an Apple store, there is a very narrow slot along the wall and in the ceiling stainless steel for the grating to roll down. The grating is placed behind the various electrical and fire sprinkler gear (upper right), and would also allow for window displays (although this store doesn't use window displays).

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