If you saw the same reports I did a bit earlier today you were likely shocked to hear that Apple would be removing its iconic ‘glass cube’ entrance way over the top of its 5th Ave retail store in NYC. The reports came via building permits that were likely tipped to sites like Macrumors by Apple watchers.
The permits call for the “full removal of the glass cubical structure at the Apple Store entrance.”
I was immediately massively skeptical that Apple would delete one of the most well-known retail structures in the entire world for no reason. So I asked around.
It turns out that this seems to be a permit-does-not-tell-the-whole-story story. Apple’s construction contractors may indeed have to remove the glass cube that sits over the entrance to the sunken 5th Ave location — but only because it’s a bit hard to do a massive store renovation when there’s a big glass cap on top of your easiest entrance/egress portal.
As far as I know, the plan was always to put the cube back on top when they were done — and that remains the plan. Whether they will alter it or improve it I do not know at this point. At one point Apple used glass from Beijing-based North Glass Safety Glass Co. to reduce the number of panes for a cleaner look, so they may do some gleaming of the cube this time around too.
I reached out to Apple for comment on this and they just came back with the same statement they had when they announced the renovations:
We look forward to creating an incredible new Apple Fifth Avenue, where our customers will enjoy new services and experiences in a much larger space. While construction is underway all 800 employees will serve our visitors from around the world at a fully-functional store next door at 767 Fifth Ave, also open 24 hours a day. We’d like to thank our customers and neighbors for their understanding as we complete the renovation.
So don’t count the cube out for good — though it may vámonos for a bit and then return.