The wait for Apple’s Washington, D.C., flagship is over: The tech giant revealed Wednesday that it will throw open the doors at its newest location in the Carnegie Library on May 11 at 10 a.m.
The plans, set in motion two years ago, encompassed a major restoration and renovation. Apple tapped Foster + Partners, the architects that worked on Apple’s Regent Street store in London, to help with the D.C. location.
The flagship represents a blend of retail and culture, with the Historical Society of Washington and the Kiplinger Research Library occupying the space alongside the tech outlet. The site’s roots, which go back more than a century, also play into this dynamic — Andrew Carnegie donated the Carnegie Library to the city in 1903.
“Inspired by the rich history of Carnegie Library, we are reimagining Apple Carnegie Library as a brand-new space to learn,” the tech company said. “Where everyone is welcome to come and discover all kinds of creativity, connect with new ideas, and share their stories.”
As a destination, the public will find galleries, education and, of course, shopping opportunities under one skylighted roof, which make for a communal gathering space. The notion slots into Apple retail’s focus on community, as made plain by the messaging in front of the building: “Together let’s create the next chapter.”
There is, of course, also a business rationale underpinning the concept. If residents in the D.C. metro area find any of the historical content, educational opportunities or Apple sessions compelling, the appeal could energize traffic across the board, benefiting all the organizations.
The store was the baby of former Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who shepherded the project prior to leaving her post last month. Ahrendts was a key figure in the company’s focus on community and experiential retail. Although the store is reaching its final stages without her, the grand opening does seem to add a punctuation mark to her tenure.
On this occasion, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook tweeted, “It’s an honor to continue the legacy of this beautiful building as a place where people seek knowledge and a sense of community.”
That community feel will continue on into the summer, with the company holding a StoryMakers Festival on the premises over a span of six weeks.
From May 18 through June 29, the event will host 40 creators and various sessions across art, music, photography and more.
Among the speakers will be hip-hop poet, activist and educator Kevin Coval; installation and performance artist Lisa Park, and fashion photographer and TV personality Nigel Barker. The full lineup follows below.