Foster + Partners turns a palace in Rome into an Apple Store

Fosters + Partners renovated and turned the Palazzo Marignoli in Rome into an Apple Store, revealing historical features and opening a central courtyard.

Apple Via del Corso is the largest Apple store in Europe and occupies the historic Marignoli Palace, near Piazza Colonna, in the center of Rome.

Top: The store is located in Palazzo Marignoli. Above: the courtyard is in the center of the building

The Apple Via del Corso building is located on the site of a 16th-century church and convent.

The current Palazzo Marignoli building was built between 1873 and 1878 and served as the home of the Marquis Philippe Marignoli. It also housed Caffè Aragno, a famous gathering place for artists.

Marble covers the interior of the Apple Via del Corso
The original paintings have been restored and placed on the ceiling

Foster + Partners wanted to celebrate its history by emphasizing its greatness and restoring its historical features.

“The idea was to celebrate different aspects and different areas of the building’s history,” said Foster + Partners partner Luis Matania.

“You have this opposition to all these different areas in the history of the building, all the way to the 21st century.”

The lighting surrounds the original image
The twilight of Ettore Ballerini is placed between the ceiling coverings

In its L-shape, the building is organized around a large courtyard opened by the studio so that the public can use it and greet visitors upon entering the building.

Camphor trees placed across the courtyard were reported by a 16th-century monastery that had previously existed on the site.

Gray marble door and window frames on Apple Via del Corso
Wooden tables were set up in the sales areas

“The yard is no longer private, it is becoming a democratic space that the community is invited to enter and enjoy,” said Foster + Partners partner Stefan Behling.

“We have re-introduced the trees as a reference to the old monastery and allows the community to come and enjoy this beautiful space.”

The artwork is set within the walls of Apple Via del Corso
The Afro Basaldelle artwork found in the building has been restored

The works of Italian artist Afro Basaldelle from the days of the art café abstractly depict paintings and scenes of Italy that have been carefully restored and placed in the walls.

Large ceiling paintings by Fabio Cipolla and Ettore Ballerini in the early 1900s were also restored and installed above the marble interiors between the ceiling coverings.

“It was a complex building and we were discovering things along the way,” Matania said.

“It was a developmental process that changed and adapted when we found new things, new painting and new aspects of architecture.”

Decorative moldings cover the walls and ceilings of the Apple Via del Corso
The large staircase was fitted with local marble

White marble was used in the interior of the Apple Via del Corso, covering the floors of each room and framing large windows that give a view of the adjoining rooms.

West of the courtyard, a large staircase with huge moldings and a former oculus on the ceiling has been renovated, structurally reinforced and equipped with local marrara from Carrara.

The company recreated daylight inside the large staircase by adding LED lighting to the oculus that changes over time.

The hallway has a curved ceiling
A long hallway connects the spaces in the store

On the first floor, a long hallway connects the forum space with the Genius bar and three retail spaces.

The forum-style space will be used for community events, occupying the former Palazzo ballroom, the focal point of the first floor.

Chairs with boxes were placed around the room on Via del Corso
The Apple Via del Corso forum-style space was furnished with light wood and leather

At the Genius Bar, conservators restored a hand-painted ceiling with a geometric pattern with decorative moldings.

Wooden furniture and carpentry were used all the time to bring heat into the interiors.

The cabinets are made of pale wood
The original hand-painted patterned ceiling covers the Genius bar Apple Via del Corso

Doors and windows in dark wood frames along the hallways and the edge of the rooms open onto Juliette’s balconies and a terrace overlooking the courtyard below.

Camphor, olive and jasmine vines are placed across the terrace to reflect typical Roman roof terraces filled with plants.

The Apple Via del Corso is one of many historic buildings where the technology company has opened stores, including Foster + a partner who designed the Champs-Élysées store in Paris and a refurbished library in Washington DC.

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