Apple’s New China Store Has One Hell of a Beautiful Facade and a Great Story to Tell

A 2,000-year-old poem rendered in calligraphy

The new Apple Store in China unites ancient and contemporary design elements to striking effect—its modern steel-and-glass exterior draped by a simple yet elegant mural that contains the text, rendered in traditional Chinese characters, of a 2,000-year-old poem.

"The lines in calligraphy need to have life in them," artist Wang Dongling says of his creation in the new two-minute Apple video below. "They need to have aesthetic feeling. They need to have a kind of magical energy endowed by nature."

Sounds like something Steve Jobs or Jony Ive might have said about the look and feel of Apple's products. So, Wang's vision seems well suited to the iconic brand, which opens its newest store tomorrow in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, situated on West Lake.

Despite its vintage, the poem, "Praising West Lake in the Rain," has a distinctly modern flavor: "Shimmering water on sunny days/Blurred mountains through rainy haze/West Lake is like the beauty, Xizi/With light or heavy makeup, always beautiful."

Indeed, our fascination with beauty, whether it exists naturally or created by our own hand, has endured for thousands of years, and to a large extent informs developments in present-day technology. The West Lake Apple Store motif spans the ages, embracing our infatuation with the constantly evolving forms and functions of beautiful things.