Apple opens its redesigned Fifth Avenue store

Apple opened its redesigned store on Fifth Avenue Friday after two years of renovations.

The tech giant has expanded the store, which is 21 feet underground, to nearly twice its original size.

Apple’s former chief design officer Jony Ive was highly involved in the store’s design, according to Stefan Behling, architect and senior executive partner at Foster and Partners — which helped design the store’s update.

Although Ive departed the company in June, Behling said the timing worked out.

“The thing was 100% cooked by the time he [left],” Behling told CNN Business. “As an architect you already get into trouble if you make decisions late. But if you make decisions for a September opening in June, you’re [done for].”

Apple confirmed Ive’s involvement but did not provide further comment. CEO Tim Cook opened the store’s doors and took selfies with those who waited in line.

To enter the store, customers use either a stainless steel staircase that spirals down a long metal column or a vault-view elevator that provides a view of the sky above.

Apple added lots of trees. The original store had 6 trees outdoors — the new one has 28.

“The best place to be is actually outside,” said Behling. “In a city like Manhattan that’s super high density, this is a relatively big space for you to relax, think and calm down.”

Some elements stayed the same, such as the Apple logo and glass cube on the street level and the type of stone Steve Jobs chose for the outside.

The lights in the store change color, depending on the time of day and amount of sunlight coming from the windows. They turn blue-ish in the morning and grow warmer at night.

On street level, 18 of these lights are built into seats on which passersby can sit. Small fountains of water flow on the sides, which will be turned off in the winter.

Square footage isn’t the only thing that has expanded. The tables throughout the store have doubled in size, including in the Genius Bar section. On the other side of the store, there are two dedicated rooms for demos. There’s also about a quarter of the store dedicated to free space for customers milling about.

The idea is that customers won’t need an Apple Store to actually buy things, but that they’ll use the space to socialize, according to Behling.

“It’s not a shop — you can buy things online,” Behling said about the design concept. “It’s about the interactions.”