Apple Park: a new hope
If the Death Star had an exact opposite, says Karl Treacher, it would be Apple Park.
This is one of those articles where I take us all back in time for effect, so pull up your leg- warmers, here we go. It’s 1977, you’re probably not born yet but let’s pretend you are. You’re in a cinema watching Star Wars and one of your parents is defiantly wearing flares.
You are essentially spellbound by a romantic good versus evil space adventure that’s unfolding in front of you. In particular, the dramatic introduction of evil Empire’s ‘Death Star’ leaves you in awe – a fearful awe. A large spheroid structure over 160 kilometres in diameter that featured 560 internal levels which could house 2.5 million passengers and crew. It’s vast size, potential and beautiful symmetrical attention to detail (if you’re a budding creative) expands your mind in some magical sci-fi way.
Some may argue that you’re never the same again. Somehow less constricted in your perspective.
Apple Park is as close to a magnificent space ship as I’ve seen.
Instead of being a symbol of dread, death and destruction in a galaxy far, far away, however, it’s a symbol of hope, life and creation in a land fighting for its contemporary identity. At at time where the current political administration appears hell-bent on modelling itself on the ‘dark side of the force’ – ignoring science, facts and progress in return for oppressive control – Apple (almost as a timely sign) steps up, forward and onto the world stage as a beacon of hope.
Hello ‘Apple Park’.
What is it?
Apple Park, also known as Campus 2 or ‘The Apple Spaceship’ is Apple’s new headquarters located 1.5kms east of its current campus. It replaces five million-square-feet of asphalt with 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees set among grassy fields. It is simply awesome – and should be for almost US$5 billion. Its 260,000 square metres of office space will be the home to more than 12,000 Apple employees.
From a broad brand perspective (and yes, I mean very broad), Apple is the modern symbol of opportunity, creativity and success. While Trump and Pence probably bang away with two fingers on an old IBM ThinkPad (or worse), the rest of the world is using modern technology, largely due to the brand, achievements and culture of Apple.
In terms of brand identity informing design, Apple Park is is a glowing example. In partnership with British design firm Foster+Partners, they’re breaking the mould. Apple Park has redefined corporate infrastructure much like Apple’s products redefine their categories.
Six kilometres of glass, four storeys, 176 acres and 7,000 trees, yet intimately connected – again, much like the brand and products it produces.
Norman Foster, chairman of Foster+Partners explains “you have got an enormous range of skills in this building: from software programmers to designers, marketing, retail,” he says. “But you can move vertically in the building as well as horizontally. The proximity, the adjacencies are very, very carefully considered.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook states “the workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
“Steve was exhilarated and inspired by the California landscape, by its light and its expansiveness. It was his favourite setting for thought. Apple Park captures his spirit uncannily well,” said Laurene Powell Jobs. “He would have flourished, as the people of Apple surely will, on this luminously designed campus.”
Can it fly?
No. Don’t be silly.
Karl Treacher is group CEO at The Brand Institute of Australia