Stockholm is blocking construction of an Apple store in its oldest park
Apple is going to have to rethink where it puts its latest shop after the new government of Stockholm vowed to block plans to build in its historic Kungsträdgården park.
“It is welcome that Apple wants to establish itself in the city,” Erik Slottner of the Christian Democrat party said. “But Kungsträdgården is the wrong place.”
It’s a move that will attract local support, no matter how much the residents may want to get their hands on the new 2018 iPad Pros. During the consultation for the building, around 1,800 responses were registered – and the overwhelming majority were critical.
To understand why there’s such a great degree of negativity to the project, you need to know a little bit about the park in question. “Kungsträdgården is the most important park in Sweden,” architect Johanna Jarméus of Nyréns Arkitektkontor told The Guardian. “It is the thread that pulls together the historical power of the monarchy with the commercial blocks of Hamngatan and the working-class districts of Södermalm. This is very important for democracy because it has to do with power, symbolically and spatially.”
In other words, it’s not a million miles away from plonking a PC World in the House of Lords. Of course, Apple doesn’t see it in quite these crude terms, choosing to rebrand its retail spaces as “town squares.” The reasoning for this? “We call them town squares, because they’re gathering places where everyone is welcome,” Angela Ahrendts, the company’s senior vice-president of retail said at the time (although try wandering in to an Apple store five minutes before closing time, and see how welcome you are then.)
It’s not the first time Apple’s retail plans have been the subject of local opposition. Earlier this year, residents of Melbourne took issue with what they described as a “Pizza Hut pagoda”. Apple eventually listened to feedback and changed the design.
If only they’d do the same with the missing headphone jack…