First-Ever Video Posted of a New Store’s Prep

June 11, 2014

In an unprecedented move, Apple has created and posted a video of new store opening preparations for the Omotesando (Tokyo) retail store, which holds its grand opening on Saturday. The YouTube video shows the exterior of the store swathed in decorative plastic, the interior before display products were set in place, and a time-lapse of the plastic removal. The 53-second video also reveals a brand-new spiral staircase design that presents a completely different aesthetic and structure. It features wide stainless steel stringers supporting partial steel treads, upon which the glass treads are placed. Previous glass staircases have used glass or steel rods to support the structure, a complex and expensive engineering feat. The video is part of A-team video and photo coverage of the store that has been underway since last week. Passersby have reported seeing sit-down employee video interviews inside the store, as well as video and photography of the store from all angles. When Apple’s video and photo crews descend on a high-profile store grand opening, they prepare materials that are used almost exclusively within the company. The store’s “hero” photo is posted on the store’s Web page, and occasionally a short video about the retail stores is shown during product announcement keynotes. But Apple has never posted a pre-opening video of a new store, and especially never reveals views of a store that’s not fully prepared. The new Tokyo store is significant—it’s the first one to open in Japan since Sapporo in June 2006. It’s arrival coincides with increasing revenues generated by the country over the last two years, a reversal of a long trend of tepid sales.

Apple rarely shows the interior of its stores before they are fully prepared, as shown in this view of the ground-level space.

The store’s visual team begins to set out the display products. Notice the woman using a tape measure in the lower-left corner of the photo to ensure accuracy of product placement.

This lower-level view of the spiral staircase shows the new design. The first spiral staircase appeared at the Shinsaibashi (Osaka) store in August 2004. In this revised design, the stringers (side structure) of the stairs are made of stainless steel, and not glass.  There are partial steel treads for support, and laminated glass treads. Notice how the colors of the back-lit graphics reflect off the steel. Click on the image for a larger view.

This photo was released early Friday on Twitter, and later appeared on the store’s Web page as the hero photo. It’s the first time that a hero photo has been posted before the store’s grand opening.

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