With Italy’s breathtaking Piazza Liberty store opening Thursday, Apple just gave eager fans an early look at the upcoming retail outlet that it says will revitalize a piazza in the center of Milan.

The project, which includes both a grand public plaza and a store below, brings Apple’s latest retail design to Italy for the first time.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail, was quoted as saying:

There’s no better expression of our vision for Apple stores serving as modern-day gathering places than Apple Piazza Liberty. In a city with such rich history of art, entertainment and creativity, it’s an honor to establish a space where anyone can be inspired to learn, create and connect with their neighbors.

The new retail outlet is located just off the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which is one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Milan. Its trademark design treat is a dramatic glass fountain that doubles as both the entrance to the store and a backdrop to the large outdoor amphitheater.

 

The staircase is situated between the middle of a pair of waterfalls that form part of a larger fountain—a tribute to the famous Italian squares that connect the city with its residents.

Other highlights include:

  • Glass fountain serves as the entrance to the store
  • There is a large outdoor amphitheater
  • The piazza is open to the public 24 hours per day
  • The piazza will host special events year-round
  • They planted 14 Gleditsia Sunburst trees in the piazza area
  • The store will revitalize a piazza in the center of Milan
  • A stone and metal staircase was cantilevered from the Beola Grigia wall
  • The piazza itself was also clad in Beola Grigia
  • Beola Grigia is a stone used throughout Milan
  • The store employs 230 people, many of whom come to Milan from global stores
  • It’ll host free sessions on photography, filmmaking, music, coding, design and more

To celebrate the new store’s debut, Apple’s put together a nice webpage highlighting a collection of drawings, photographs and pieces of art created by cherry-picked artists and designers from all over Italy who’ve tried to capture a snapshot of the city’s creative energy.

Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer:

To work within one of Italy’s historic piazzas is both a great responsibility and wonderful challenge. We combined two fundamental elements of the Italian piazza—water and stone—adding a glass portal that creates a multi-sensory experience as visitors enter the store through a cascading fountain that seems to envelop them.

The store opens Thursday, July 26, at 5pm local time.

It’ll host free hourly Today at Apple sessions on photography, filmmaking, music creation, coding, design and more. This September, Apple Piazza Liberty will also host a special month-long Milan Series, where 21 local artists will share their visions for the creative future of Milan.

Today at Apple registration is available now at apple.com/today.

Later this week on July 28  Apple will also open a remodeled and relocated flagship store at the former site of a California Pizza Kitchen in the Broadway Plaza outdoor shopping mall.