Last Thursday, Apple opened its new store in Dubai. Apple’s first two stores in the United Arab Emirates have welcomed more than 4 million visitors since opening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi 18 months ago. Apple will reach even more visitors from around the world at Dubai Mall.
While many excited shoppers were undoubtedly excited for what was on the inside, the exterior of the building has also captured a great deal of attention.
As Apple explained, it sought to blur “the barriers between inside and out, to erase the boundaries between the store and the community.” To mitigate Dubai’s climate, it hired London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners to design eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorized “Solar Wings” that respond to the region’s fluctuating environmental conditions. When the sun is at its hottest, the wings cool the store, and in the evenings they open up to welcome everyone to the public terrace. The wings were constructed by Dubai-based Premier Composite Technologies.
Apple says the structures were inspired by Arabic Mashrabiyas – a style of lattice architecture used since the Middle Ages. Each “Solar Wing” is locally fabricated from 340 carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods, and at 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.
The solar wings are just the latest in Apple’s resume of carbon fiber architecture. Last year, Apple revealed photos and details of its new Campus 2, which features the world’s largest freestanding carbon fiber roof. The roof was also constructed Premier Composites Technologies. Apple’s recently-opened store in Chicago also features a carbon fiber roof.