The building of a global Apple flagship store in Federation Square has been shrouded in secrecy and controversy. There has been a public backlash about using a public space for a retail outlet.
The design of the building has also come under scrutiny. The original design was dubbed by a source a ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’. Apple has since redesigned the building, which the chief executive of Federation Square is quoted as describing as “more sympathetic to the style of the existing space”.
In January 2018, it was revealed that the Apple plan was given the go ahead by the State Government despite three senior ministers arguing against it. To accommodate Apple wishes, the Koorie Heritage Trust will be moved to another site within Federation Square. The State Government passed the demolition plans supposedly without public consultation and without Melbourne City Council knowledge. The Government argue that the Koorie building was “originally designed and built as a late addition to Federation Square” and “has always presented a physical barrier between Federation Square and the Yarra riverside with access between them limited and exposure to the square from the riverside effectively non-existent”. Apparently the Apple store will allow better site lines to the River that are available now?
Is Melbourne going to get an improved Fed Square or a rotten apple? The jury is out but on initial views, the Apple will be different variety from those already in the barrel (sorry, Square).