This boutique in Seoul was designed by Korean firm Betwin Space Design to showcase crocodile-skin handbags.
Created for Singapore brand Kwanpen, the shop's exterior façade is clad in a relief comprising irregular prism shapes.
A grid of square boxes hang from the ceiling inside and rectangular recesses in the walls provide display areas for the products.
Photographs are by Pyojoon Lee.
The following information is from the architects:
Betwin Space Design
Betwin Space Design is a young design studio starting on 2008 with director Hwanwoo Oh and Junggon Kim, who always are longing for new space and designing with inspirational concepts.
Betwin have deployed designs through experimental studies with new approaches by thinking of the relationship and relativity between the space and things, and the space and people.
They starts their design thinking on the most functional and basic elements such as usage, purpose, the user’s intention, and the spatial condition. Decorative elements are constrained and they unfold the space using the process by theme and concept. They believe that design is a process to express the space itself rather than a tool to design for ‘Design’.
KWANPEN is a hand-made crocodile skin handbag brand based in Singapore. The KWANPEN Seoul boutique in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul, is designed to suit a small number of manias rather than the general population.
The brand’s Seoul store has a design element that is quite different from those of Singapore stores designed to an overall concept. The client who has the artisan spirit of their products, wanted a simple design so that it would not compete with the products.
Answering the client’s request to create a space where the protagonist in the space is the handbag, they started their inspirations from the characteristic of crocodile and gallery where the products can be displayed and exhibited as works of art.
The space concept is ‘Gallery’ where the decorative elements are devoid, and customers feel as if they are looking at works of art. The products stand out in the wall-mounted display boxes in a flood of light.
To deliver the sense of gallery-alike, it was designed to minimize the design elements and colors but only to shine products in shop.
Details not easily recognized and the radiating way of illuminating light were tested in various ways and carefully considered to give a certain effect of full of light in display box.
Unlike the conventional façade that features display windows, the front windows are completely closed, and the products are displayed in an active way through window showcase that it created in and almost reluctant way.
In order to communicate the brand identity, a modular material of crocodile skin is created to cover the whole closed façade surface. Employing brass which has excellent metal formability on façade, patterns of crocodile leathers were encoded and simplified.
KWANPEN express its brand identity itself through the space communicates with urban space and influences its immediate environment.
What appears abstract at first becomes a part of a larger story through the delicate experience and discovery of the space between exterior and interior. It is a gallery where the imagination becomes reality.
Project Name: KWANPEN
Design: Betwin Space Design / Hwanwoo Oh, Junggon Kim
Client: C&P International
Constructor: Betwin Space Design
Location: 100-3, Chungdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Design Period: Sep. 2010 ~ Nov. 2010
Completed: Dec. 2010
Use: Boutique Store (Handmade Crocodile Skin Bag)
Floor: White Concrete
Wall: Lacquer Painting
Ceiling: Vinyl Painting
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