Shibuya Store Glass Staircase

Apple's store design and architecture is intended to support the design and form of its products, so they take every opportunity to create interesting, intriguing and inviting spaces for visitors. One of the most spectacular store designs has been the spiral glass staircase first installed at the Shinsaibashi (Japan) store in Osaka. It's free-standing and supported from above by stainless-steel rods mounted in the ceiling. It's both an engineering and esthetic masterpiece that almost forces visitors to visit the second floor.

A second spiral glass staircase was installed in the Shibuya store in Tokyo, which opened Aug. 6, 2005. The two staircases differ in several significant ways:

  • the Shinsaibashi staircase is at the front of the store and is subject to natural and incandescent light. The Shibya stairs are at the rear of the store, in a corner.
  • the Shinsaibashi staircase is wider than the Shibuya version.
  • the Shinsaibashi staircase spirals to the left, while the Shibuya version spirals to the right.
  • the Shinsaibashi staircase is entirely free-standing, while the Shibuya version is partially supported by an adjacent wall and a handrail/glass-panel design.

Thanks to Doctor Q at for these detailed photos of the staircase!

a_long_shot b_with_guard c_full_front

view from front of store

guarding the stairs

area used as a stage to right

d_straight_down e_down_hardware f_light_reflect

view down the stairs

view down showing hardware

incandescent lighting

w_down_stairs x_left_up z_center_up

view down the stairs

view up the stairs

closer view up the stairs