The three-level retail outlet occupies a Victorian building on the corner of James Street and the piazza.
Architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which has collaborated with Apple on all of its 300 stores, is also responsible for the design of the Covent Garden shop.
The store’s central feature is a glassed-in, double-height courtyard space and mezzanine. The area showcases iPads and will also be used for events.
‘We are in Covent Garden, which is all about theatre, so this store will host events and performances like no other store,’ says Apple senior vice-president of retail Ron Johnson.
Apple Covent Garden features several firsts, including separate rooms dedicated to Apple’s four main products: Macs, iPhones, iPods and iPads.
For the first time, customers will be able to sit in the ‘start-up room’ to open their products and set them up with the help of a member of staff. Other new areas include a community room for group training sessions and a briefing room for businesses to get advice on Apple products.
The store contains not just one but two signature glass staircases, bare brickwork, exposed air conditioning ducts, grey painted ironwork and English oak tables.
This is the 28th Apple store in the UK and the 300th to open worldwide since 2000. It will take over from the Regent Street store, which opened in 2004, as the UK flagship – or in Apple terminology, ‘significant’ – store.
‘Most retailers’ flagship stores are not where they make their most money, but that is not the case for Apple,’ says Johnson.
Apple is currently working on its first Spanish store, which is due to open in the autumn.
The Covent Garden store opens its doors to the public on Saturday.