Apple Marina Bay Sands is a distinctive presence on Marina Bay, with a 30-metre diameter dome that is a contemporary interpretation of the geodesic dome, using minimal material to enclose the maximum space. Imagined as a clear bubble in the water, it references the sister pavilion through its materiality and site. It is fully glazed, with a black glass base, creating an island joined only by a small bridge. On the inside, the dome features fabric baffles that spiral up to the top, providing solar shading and acoustic control within the store.

Lighting design was an integral element of the project, from the outset. During the day, the dome reflects the colours of the surrounding water and sky, while the interior is flooded with natural light. Caustic reflections bounce off the water’s surface and onto the baffles.

In the evening, subtle interior lighting transforms the appearance of the dome. As daylight fades the concealed baffle lighting slowly ramps up, emitting a warm, glare-free glow. The baffle lighting is carefully integrated within the dome’s architectural fabric, to ensure that the linear light source, and any of its reflections, are not visible from normal viewing angles. The intensity is set to a gradient, which gradually tapers off towards the lowest baffle.

The custom table mounted lights provide local task illumination on the display tables, allowing the remainder of the floorplate to be lit by indirect baffle lighting. By keeping the ambient light levels lower, reflections in the glazing are reduced to reveal spectacular views of the Singapore skyline, though the 360° curved picture windows. Viewed from the exterior, the restrained interior illumination makes the dome’s interior space appear as an almost seamless continuation of the Marina Bay waterfront.

The structure comprises 112 pieces of glass treated with frit and coatings to allow a fully glazed external appearance with dramatic, integrated solar shading to the interior. At the top, a semi-opaque oculus provides a dramatic shaft of light that travels through the space in much the same way as the famous pantheon in Rome.

The dome is a celebration of light, and the delicate interplay between transparency and shade.

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