A floating metal disk at the Apple HQ

Q.
A drawing of a floating metal disk: can you guess what this implies?

Image for post
Image for post

A.
‘Steve Jobs Theater’
at Apple Park
drawn by (Norman) Foster+Partners
found at deep inside the basement of that very theater and the ‘boardroom’ of Apple retail stores including the latest #AppleKyoto

— — —

It is very well known that Apple’s new headquarter building at Apple Park nicknamed the ‘Spaceship’ is a gigantic circular structure. By that gigantic circle, there is a tiny hill. And on top of that hill, you will find another circular structure. That structure that looks down to the spaceship (or the mothership) is the ‘Steve Jobs Theater.’

I was invited there for the inaugurational event where iPhone X was introduced.

The event started with voice of the very man which this theater is named after . Hearing the echoed voice in the darkened auditorium, I was so moved.

I first saw the picture above in a secret reception room after the event. It was behind some movable walls in the basement of the theater. Picture was not allowed in the room and there is a possibility that the one I saw there was a hand-drawn one rather than the rendered image above.
I was in the room doing some other business but I could not help myself from asking what the picture implied. I was stunned by the answer.

I found it was the ultimate rendition of subtlety. So elegant, so beautiful.

Most of the contents of the theater are in the basement. An auditorium with subtle stage and gigantic screen that touches the floor of the stage. You go there either by walking down a long staircase or by taking a rotating elevator. The staircase is made of terrazzo developed by Apple. Its handrail softly reflected the natural light and looked like solemn historical monuments (that very staircase can be found at Apple Kyoto and several other recent Apple retail locations). In the center of the basement, I first thought I saw a huge metal pillar that supported the ground floor; but after the event, I was surprised because that pillar disappeared and revealed an exhibition area for the new products. That pillar-like structure were actually moving metal curtains that veiled the exhibition area. These are the main components under the hood of the Steve Jobs Theater. But beside them, of course, there are some secrets rooms behind the walls. It is Apple’s nature.

From what I heard, Foster+Partners built the basement first. Then they surrounded the two arc-shaped staircases with cylindrical glass walls.

Finally, they used a crane to softly place the disk-shaped metal ceiling on top of that glass cylinder; that completed the circular empty space on the ground level of the theater. No pillar, no wires. How beautiful.

Even the manner they constructed it followed the zen-like concept image of the theater.

Since the event, the original concept drawing of the theater stucked in my head. But I was never sure when I would see it again (or not).

That is why I was so surprised when I re-encountered it in the ‘boardroom’ of yet-to-open Apple Kyoto.

Image for post
Image for post
Steve Jobs Theater image found at Apple Kyoto
Image for post
Image for post
Steve Jobs Theater exterior
Image for post
Image for post
the empty space on the ground level of Steve Jobs theater looking toward Apple HQ
Image for post
Image for post
The ceiling of Steve Jobs Theater
Image for post
Image for post
Size comparison: Steve Jobs Theater vs the mothership (=HQ)
Image for post
Image for post
Sir. Jonathan Ive with Sir Norman Foster
Image for post
Image for post
the only picture I took of the metal veil that surround the exhibition space
Image for post
Image for post
unveiled exhibition area
Image for post
Image for post
the staircase
Image for post
Image for post
the handrail
Image for post
Image for post
The auditorium at Steve Jobs Theater
Image for post
Image for post
the concept in image
Image for post
Image for post
the concept in words

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store