The Story Behind the Iconic Glass Cube Fifth Avenue Apple Store

A new article published by NYMag has revealed some interesting details about Apple’s iconic Fifth Avenue retail store in New York, recalling how Steve Jobs originally wanted an even bigger glass cube than the one now sits above the store. The author of a new book titled The Liar’s Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World’s Toughest Tycoons shares the story of how real estate guru George Macklowe convinced Jobs on the more compact design.

Fifth avenue store

The author recounts that Jobs initially wanted a store that “would be open 24/7”. It was at that point where Jobs, Macklowe, and the designers thought of placing a square glass cube in an unused basement within the GM Building’s Plaza. At the same time, Jobs suggested the cube should be at least 40-feet tall. However, Macklowe believed the cube should only be 30-feet tall. In an attempt to make his case, Macklowe commissioned two replicas in the plaza of the GM building, one inside the other.

“Macklowe knew that the only major flaw in Jobs’s concept was the size. Forty feet was too big — not just for zoning restrictions but for the scale of the building. No one would like it — not the city, not the tenants. He also knew that talking about it with Jobs wouldn’t get him anywhere. He’d have to show Apple what he meant. He invited Apple’s retail development executives, Ron Johnson and Robert “Rob” Briger, to the building two weeks after the Cupertino meeting, to view a scaffolding mockup of the cube — in the dead of night. (Regulations forbade Macklowe to build during the day.)

Around two in the morning, the group met in front of the GM Building. The 40-foot cube was unveiled. They all agreed it was too big. It obscured the building. Macklowe was grinning. He then gave the signal, and the model was dismantled — only to reveal a 30?foot cube he had secretly constructed underneath. His magic trick worked. Apple was sold on the smaller cube.”

You can check out the entire story at this link. It’s a pretty interesting read.