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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.