Located in a former bank, the 4,500-square-foot subterranean concept store is apparently a "glimpse into Starbucks’ vision of the future." And with everything from floating communal seating and local design touches (think Delft tiles, bike-inspired décor) to an on-site bakery and something called the "Slow" Coffee Theatre, the future definitely looks different. (Check out pictures of the Beirut concept store to see more of what to expect from these locally inspired Starbucks locations.)
When it opened in February, the Squaw Valley location earned the distinction of being the world’s first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks. Located at a staggering elevation of 8,000 feet, it’s essentially the skier’s answer to a drive-thru Starbucks. Upon its opening, Squaw Valley president and CEO, Andy Wirth, explained the concept's appeal: "Nowhere else in the world can skiers and riders enjoy a delicious Starbucks coffee without missing a beat on the slopes."
There’s no arguing that this new Tukila, Wash., Starbucks stands out — and for all the right reasons. Made using four reclaimed shipping containers, the design is as eco-friendly as it is innovative and, quite frankly, just plain cool looking. Starbucks representative Alan Hilowitz explained, "Our designers were inspired to create this store both as a result of the shipyard that can be seen out the back windows of our headquarters in South Seattle, as well as a desire to recycle the same kind of shipping containers that transport our coffees and teas around the world."
Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, the store is located on the street leading to the Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, which apparently influenced the firm's approach to the project. The designers wanted to have the store fit in seamlessly with the setting, and so the interior features some 2,000 light wood blocks interwoven throughout the length of the store. According to reports, the stunning effect is meant to evoke the look of branches in a forest, giving the impression that the store is "nestled in a tree." Design-wise, it might just be the coolest Starbucks ever.
It may more or less look like the kind of garden variety Starbucks outlet you’d find at your local mall, but this shop has the benefit of a slightly more unique location: on board Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Allure of the Seas. The 5,400-passenger ship debuted in October of 2010, and featured everything from a zip line and surfing simulators to an open-air, tree-lined "Central Park." Not exactly what you’d consider typical digs for a Starbucks store.
Looking like some sort of futuristic battleship, this Starbucks in Xi’an, China (apparently the city’s first when it opened in 2007), has quite a unique exterior. The sharp angles and symmetric wood paneling make for quite the stand-out-in-the-crowd design.
Talk about a mall Starbucks outlet unlike any other. Located inside Dubai’s extravagantly decorated Ibn Battuta Mall — allegedly the world’s largest themed shopping mall — this Starbucks location benefits from some pretty stunning surrounding design. Namely, a gorgeous blue-and-yellow, mosaic-tiled domed ceiling and a showpiece of a chandelier.
There’s no high-concept architectural design or special eco-friendly elements incorporated — it’s just a cute little yellow cottage of a coffee shop, and if there wasn’t a sign, you might not even realize it was a Starbucks from the outside.