Glass Staircase Tread Crashes at New Store

October 25, 2013

Just 23 hours before the Saturday morning grand opening of the Shanghai iapm (China) Apple store, a glass staircase tread from the spiral staircase linking the store’s two levels broke and damaged the floor underneath. According to people waiting for the grand opening, the tread fell out of its mounting at about 10 a.m. and crashed in pieces on the stone flooring.The huge store is set to open tomorrow at 9 a.m. in west-central Shanghai, the city’s fourth store. Within 30 minutes of the incident, workers erected a black curtain over the front windows to prevent a view of the repair work. Meanwhile, representatives from the glass supplier, Seele GbbH (Germany), worked with local craftsman to retrieve spare glass treads that all stores have ready for such emergencies. The spare treads were laid out on Genius Bar stools while the shattered glass was swept up. The tread was eventually replaced, but it was unclear if damage to the store floor would be repaired before the store opened. There have been periodic repairs and replacements to the glass stair structures at 25 stores over the years due to broken parts and delaminations, but none has resulted in any reported injuries to employees or visitors.

Construction workers gather at the location where a glass tread fell out of its mounting at the Shanghai iapm store before the grand opening. The arrow points to the outside attachment points where the tread is missing.

Thanks to Henry for the photos!

A worker sweeps up pieces of the glass tread after it feel out of the staircase.

Seele GmbH and other workers moved Genius Bar stools together so they could set down the spare glass treads for the replacement.

Workers move to erect a black curtain over the front glass window of the store to prevent a view of the broken tread and the repair work.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Olivia Mak October 30, 2013 at 1208

These designs are certainly impressive and adds another level of elegance to any structure. Personally, I prefer steel or wood structures for this reason. It takes an abundance of craftsmanship and skill to build a spiral staircase that will last. I am glad the store was able to rectify this emergency, and I look forward to visiting this store on my next trip to Shanghai.


Gary Allen October 31, 2013 at 1711

OK, I get it…sorta spam. But I don’t mind, since it’s still spiral staircase-related.


Joe November 1, 2013 at 1530

This has always been my fear when going up or down one of these staircases. I guess the fact that this is the first time it’s happened is a testament to how well they are built.


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