Apple's Carnegie Library Store in Washington, DC to Respect Historic Context With Subtle Branding, Community Focus

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Following a few reports from last year that centered upon Apple's intent to restore the historic Carnegie Library in Washington D.C. and outfit it as a prime destination for Apple retail, the company has now shared a few renderings and details about the location with The Washington Post.

The location will be home to Apple's new "Today at Apple" events, which will include concerts, art exhibitions, photography classes, coding sessions, and more. Still a retail location, Apple will generate customer interest in purchasing a new product through its Genius Grove, where users can get product assistance on a tree-lined sales floor. The Genius Grove will be located where the Carnegie Library's book collection was previously housed.

What long ago were reading rooms would become places to browse and sample Apple products.

"This is a way of creating a reason to come to the store, to touch and feel our products, but also to have an engaging experience with someone who is passionate about the same thing," said B.J. Siegel, Apple Retail's senior design director.
One of Apple's major intentions for the Carnegie Library location is to make its presence there subtle while restoring the building to its "original grandeur." The Apple logo won't be prominently featured on the sides of the Carnegie Library, and the company hopes that it will "take a little work to find the store's signage and logo." In the render below, the logo appears as small double signage flanking the main entrance to the building.

Carnegie Library is said to take on the history-focused renovations of previous Apple retail locations, including Apple Opéra in Paris and the upcoming location in Brooklyn. Although Apple plans a few changes to Carnegie Library, like a major new skylight above a central events area, the company's intent to find and preserve historic landmarks beloved by a local community is "part and parcel to the experience Apple is trying to create," according to Apple Retail senior design director B.J. Siegel.

Rather than plastering the buildings with the company's logo, Apple's designers say they will focus on restoring the building's historic character. It can take a little work to find the store's signage and logo -- which is the point.

"For us, it wasn't about coming in and leaving our mark," Siegel said. "It was about bringing the history back out and respecting it."

"We've discovered that big garish logos on historic buildings don't work very well, so often we try to find more subtle ways to brand the building," he added.
For its part, the Washington, D.C. government is on Apple's side, with mayor Muriel E. Bowser stating that Apple's location in Carnegie Library "could link D.C.'s rich history to our continued economic renaissance, will demonstrate the strength of our retail market, and will tell companies across the globe that the District is open for business." The Historical Society of Washington D.C. will remain in offices on the second floor of the building.

Later this evening, Apple is set to present its plans to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington, D.C., but the exact opening date for the Carnegie Library location has not yet been set.

Article Link: Apple's Carnegie Library Store in Washington, DC to Respect Historic Context With Subtle Branding, Community Focus
 
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Nunyabinez

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack of focus on their products?

If Apple was hitting the ball out the park every day then I would say, go and use your money to give something back, but they aren't making products that I want any more and while I know the people fixing stores aren't the people designing products, this ship has no one holding the rudder.
 

Jakexb

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Impressive as always. I love Apple's historical building locations.
The Grand Central store is classier than anyone thought was possible.
The restaurant that used to be in that spot had signs and things everywhere.
The Apple store pared it down to almost nothing.
 

sunapple

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"We've discovered that big garish logos on historic buildings don't work very well, so we decided to put a 30-feet high Apple logo on the square in front of the store."
 

Jakexb

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk. Why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack on focus on their products?

If Apple was hitting the ball out the park every day then I would say, go and use your money to give something back, but they aren't making products that I want any more and while I know the people fixing stores aren't the people designing products, this ship has no one holding the rudder.
Historical buildings:
They get approval by city governments to move into these buildings because they have a track record of not ruining them. Getting great locations like this and Grand Central and others adds prestige to the brand and gets Apple amazing retail locations that can't be competed with.

Social issues:
Apple's stance on privacy made an entire new generation of loyal Apple users. People know that Apple won't sell you out. That's something that Samsung et al can't copy and commodify.
 

brianlbaker

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It's a stunning building, with tons of potential. I toured it about 20 years ago, when the DC Government was offering it to the UDC Law School as a potential home. It was too expensive a renovation process to be feasible for your school. Too bad, it would have been a perfect location for a law school.

It'll make a stunning Apple Store.
 

Rogifan

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack of focus on their products?

If Apple was hitting the ball out the park every day then I would say, go and use your money to give something back, but they aren't making products that I want any more and while I know the people fixing stores aren't the people designing products, this ship has no one holding the rudder.
They're opening a new store. Are you saying they shouldn't be opening any new stores until the products they're selling are to your satisfaction?
 

barkomatic

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This has got to be the oddest Apple Store to date. Of course Apple has placed its stores in historic buildings before, but the scale of this one seems huge. It's like turning the Met into an Apple Store.

I guess it's better that the building gets restored(kinda) rather than fall into ruin.
 

ryanwarsaw

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack of focus on their products?

If Apple was hitting the ball out the park every day then I would say, go and use your money to give something back, but they aren't making products that I want any more and while I know the people fixing stores aren't the people designing products, this ship has no one holding the rudder.
Apple has a pile of money they can do what they want. The people that work on such projects aren't the ones that design iPhones or Macs or whatever product you want. It doesn't take any resources out of Apple to do this.

Sometimes life is easier when you come to the realization not everything is about you.
 
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Nunyabinez

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Apple has a pile of money they can do what they want. The people that work on such products aren't the ones that design iPhones or Macs or whatever product you want. It doesn't take any resources out of Apple to do this.

Sometimes life is easier when you come to the realization not everything is about you.
That has to be one of the stupidest things I have ever seen written. Who is it supposed to be about? Apple?

I buy from Apple because I want products that meet my needs. Yeah, it's about me. If I want to save whales I'll go do it myself.

And just because a company has lots of money and employees, doesn't mean it can't get lost in BS.

Steve Jobs was about making great products that people wanted. He had a laser focus. Everything he did was to that end.

Tim Cook is about being a social justice warrior.

Steve's Apple made good stuff. Tim's not so much.
 

ryanwarsaw

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That has to be one of the stupidest things I have ever seen written. Who is it supposed to be about? Apple?

I buy from Apple because I want products that meet my needs. Yeah, it's about me. If I want to save whales I'll go do it myself.

And just because a company has lots of money and employees, doesn't mean it can't get lost in BS.

Steve Jobs was about making great products that people wanted. He had a laser focus. Everything he did was to that end.

Tim Cook is about being a social justice warrior.

Steve's Apple made good stuff. Tim's not so much.
It's about making money and preserving a historic building. I am sorry the technology to bring Steve back from the grave doesn't exist. The article however is about a fantastic new retail space in a historic building that will eventually make Apple a whole bunch of money. Sorry they no longer update the iPod Nano or whatever your hot button product is.
 

convergent

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Apple has a pile of money they can do what they want. The people that work on such products aren't the ones that design iPhones or Macs or whatever product you want. It doesn't take any resources out of Apple to do this.

Sometimes life is easier when you come the the realization not everything is about you.
YOU (and I) are Apple customers, and it should be all about "the you" if Apple wants to continue to grow.

This is yet another example of why I'm moving away from Apple as a customer. Steve Jobs was extremely focussed on delivering innovative game changing products to the customer. When companies lose focus on the customer (especially hugely egotistical companies), then they lose customers.

People wouldn't be complaining about a fancy spaceship headquarters, historic buildings for stores, and a CEO bent on making political statements rather than spending their vast pile of cash on innovative product development; if the company was delivering on their core mission. But that isn't happening. Product lines are being neglected and Apple is moving from innovator to follower... or rolling out things like the touch bar that the market doesn't want. I was just in the store yesterday playing with the Galaxy S8 and the mock ups for the next iPhone look an awful lot like Apple is now just lagging Samsung.

I've spent a lot of money with Apple over the years and more and more I'm finding that they just aren't hungry for my money anymore. About all I have left that I'm using which is Apple is an older Mac Mini (with a Dell display since my Thunderbolt Display died and no replacement offered; and planning to transition to my Surface Pro 4 most everything from it), a single Apple TV (just bought a Roku yesterday, and planning another one to replace the Apple TV since they have a couple of apps like Amazon that I want on there), and an iPhone 6s+.
 

Nunyabinez

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Historical buildings:
They get approval by city governments to move into these buildings because they have a track record of not ruining them. Getting great locations like this and Grand Central and others adds prestige to the brand and gets Apple amazing retail locations that can't be competed with.

Social issues:
Apple's stance on privacy made an entire new generation of loyal Apple users. People know that Apple won't sell you out. That's something that Samsung et al can't copy and commodify.
I understand that. So why pick a landmark? Why not just find a great location?

It's because Tim thinks he's some societal savior. He hasn't a clue about how to actually turn all the money Apple has made into great new products, so he has to save historical buildings.

You know, there are preservation societies to do that.

Where is the tech company that can make really great products that people love to use? Oh, wait. It died with Steve Jobs.
 
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Small White Car

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This has got to be the oddest Apple Store to date. Of course Apple has placed its stores in historic buildings before, but the scale of this one seems huge. It's like turning the Met into an Apple Store.
They're gonna need the space. Not only is it across the street from the convention center (capacity 42,000 people) it's also going to be the only Apple store downtown.

I've also seen my fair share of people drive over to Georgetown or Virginia just for a laptop power adapter or a lunch-break-iPhone-repair. (Saw an emergency "thunderbolt to ethernet" trip on a job last Thursday.) ALL of that business is gonna start going to this one location.
 

Nunyabinez

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It's about making money and preserving a historic building. I am sorry the technology to bring Steve back from the grave doesn't exist. The article however is about a fantastic new retail space in a historic building that will eventually make Apple a whole bunch of money. Sorry they no longer update the iPod Nano or whatever your hot button product is.
I really wish ad hominem attacks were allowed here.
 

ryanwarsaw

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Apr 7, 2007
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YOU (and I) are Apple customers, and it should be all about "the you" if Apple wants to continue to grow.

This is yet another example of why I'm moving away from Apple as a customer. Steve Jobs was extremely focussed on delivering innovative game changing products to the customer. When companies lose focus on the customer (especially hugely egotistical companies), then they lose customers.

People wouldn't be complaining about a fancy spaceship headquarters, historic buildings for stores, and a CEO bent on making political statements rather than spending their vast pile of cash on innovative product development; if the company was delivering on their core mission. But that isn't happening. Product lines are being neglected and Apple is moving from innovator to follower... or rolling out things like the touch bar that the market doesn't want. I was just in the store yesterday playing with the Galaxy S8 and the mock ups for the next iPhone look an awful lot like Apple is now just lagging Samsung.

I've spent a lot of money with Apple over the years and more and more I'm finding that they just aren't hungry for my money anymore. About all I have left that I'm using which is Apple is an older Mac Mini (with a Dell display since my Thunderbolt Display died and no replacement offered; and planning to transition to my Surface Pro 4 most everything from it), a single Apple TV (just bought a Roku yesterday, and planning another one to replace the Apple TV since they have a couple of apps like Amazon that I want on there), and an iPhone 6s+.
Your frustration with the current product line has no bearing on Apple opening a new store. The people doing this would be part of Apple retail. Their job is to find great locations that are interesting.

This story is proof if nothing else that Apple retail is doing their best.
 

imnotthewalrus

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Nov 20, 2015
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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack of focus on their products?

If Apple was hitting the ball out the park every day then I would say, go and use your money to give something back, but they aren't making products that I want any more and while I know the people fixing stores aren't the people designing products, this ship has no one holding the rudder.
At the risk of sounding like a bigger jerk, why do people on this site continue to believe that product development employees are even remotely related to retail development?
[doublepost=1494256368][/doublepost]
what are you talking about? I simply want to delete my account. I don't need any idiotic responses to this request. Just a simple how do I go about it. I guess the only way to get it removed from this site is if I "insult" enough people.
Here is a wild and crazy idea....quit logging into the site.
 
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convergent

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Your frustration with the current product line has no bearing on Apple opening a new store. The people doing this would be part of Apple retail. Their job is to find great locations that are interesting.

This story is proof if nothing else that Apple retail is doing their best.
True, Apple Retail is doing great; but if they don't start getting back to their roots then eventually Apple Retail won't have anything to sell but new colors of watch bands.

OK, admittedly that is a bit dramatic, but the point is that there are breaks in the armor that is Apple's empire, and it all leads back to Tim. I, as a customer, am very frustrated with Apple's priorities under Tim's leadership, so I'm taking my money and spending it elsewhere. Whether they lose me completely will depend on how long this continues.

And, I've also seen a drop in Apple Retail employees' service level. Just went in for a watch problem and the girl that waited on me was not what I've experienced there before; nor was the customer service person I talked to before going into the store about the problem. I just wonder if all this investment in expensive real estate is going to come back to haunt them "when" their growth stalls.
 
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GLS

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I understand that. So why pick a landmark? Why not just find a great location?
Surely, you are not serious.

Maybe you need to consult your favorite map website to find the location of this building to see just how great a location this is.
 

Chupa Chupa

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack of focus on their products?
I doubt Apple is moving into the building because it is historical. They are moving in because it's right across from the convention center and the building itself is kind of high profile because it sits in an island by itself -- hard to miss it unlike any of the other steel and concrete in the area. Also the building has been in disuse for some time now -- so wouldn't be surprise if they got a good deal too.
 

IJ Reilly

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I understand that. So why pick a landmark? Why not just find a great location?

It's because Tim thinks he's some societal savior. He hasn't a clue about how to actually turn all the money Apple has made into great new products, so he has to save historical buildings.

You know, there are preservation societies to do that.

Where is the tech company that can make really great products that people love to use? Oh, wait. It died with Steve Jobs.
Maybe you should read the source article. MR left out the comments from Angela Ahrendts on how this fits into the larger retail strategy. That was the most noteworthy part of the story, actually.
[doublepost=1494256594][/doublepost]
I doubt Apple is moving into the building because it is historical. They are moving in because it's right across from the convention center and the building itself is kind of high profile because it sits in an island by itself -- hard to miss it unlike any of the other steel and concrete in the area. Also the building has been in disuse for some time now -- so wouldn't be surprise if they got a good deal too.
And also because it is historic. Am I the only one who read the source article?
 
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Mr. Skeleton

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At the risk of sounding like a jerk, why does Apple need to spend all their time worrying about historic buildings or other social issues when people are pissed off about the lack of focus on their products?

If Apple was hitting the ball out the park every day then I would say, go and use your money to give something back, but they aren't making products that I want any more and while I know the people fixing stores aren't the people designing products, this ship has no one holding the rudder.
You must not be a local. Being a DC local and reading this made me say YES!

The area this is in is somewhat dead, mostly just the convention center and some hotels.

This will bring a ton of traffic to the Mt. Vernon area.

The Carnegie Library is a small but beautiful part of DC, and I'm glad Apple is investing to make this library better, along with keeping a low profile.

Traffic, business, improvements to the Carnegie Library, and a footprint that won't detract from the site.

Apple wins, DC wins. I love it.

(also as Chupa said, it's a great isolated location that's very visible)