Christian de Portzamparc and Peter Marino create garment-inspired boutique for Dior
Towering fibreglass panels modelled on the tailoring of Dior clothing envelope the fashion brand's new boutique in Seoul, created by architect Christian de Portzamparc and Peter Marino (+ slideshow).
The building was designed by de Portzamparc for a corner plot in the luxury Gangnam shopping district, and also includes a gallery and cafe. It stands on the thoroughfare as the Leong Leong-designed 3.1 Phillip Lim store, and nearby the Paul Smith and Acne branches.
The sculptural white fibreglass panels, each measuring 20 metres tall, gently undulate in an attempt to depict the fluid movement of clothing created in Dior's Haute Couture Atelier in Paris.
Some panels curl around the side of the building, while others part over the entrance to create an arched opening to the six-storey store, which sells both Dior mens and womenswear lines as well as accessories.
"I wanted the building to represent Dior and to reflect Christian Dior's work. So I wanted the surfaces to flow, like the couturier's soft, woven white cotton fabric," explained de Portzamparc.
"These surfaces, which soar into the sky and undulate as if in motion, crossed by a few lines, are made from long moulded fibreglass shells, fitted together with aircraft precision."
"In Seoul, where the quadrangular buildings align with the avenue, and which are all occupied by leading international fashion labels, the building stands out like a large sculptural tribute to Dior, inviting everyone to step inside."
The panels were formed over giant wooden moulds and laid over a metal framework to create the shopfront. An inner layer of perforated anodised aluminium panels overlap above the glass doorway, creating an arched opening.
"The entrance, where two shells come together, is a sort of modern lancet arch, in which two metal mesh surfaces cross in line with the clothing metaphor," said the architect.
A glazed cafe serving typically French fare in the form of macarons and pastries by confectionist Pierre Hermé is concealed behind wavy fibreglass balustrades at the top of the six-storey building.
Peter Marino designed the interior, which features monochrome tiled floors, mirrored walls and fabric draped candlers.
Slivers of glass inserted in the joins between panels help to naturally light the shop floors. The luxuriously glossy interiors are paired with contemporary artwork and furnishings, including Innerblow glass benches by Japanese design brand Nendo.
Private appointments can be held in the VIP Lounge and Gallery on the third floor, which has a reception area decorated with drawings by Austrian artist Lucas Zallmann and a sculpture by Carmelo Tedeschi.
To mark the opening of its new boutique in Asia, Dior launched the Limited Edition range of handbags and accessories to be sold exclusively in Korea.
Marino has previously created shop fit-outs for several high-calibre fashion brands including Louis Vuitton's London branch and the Dior flagship in Tokyo.
Christian de Portzamparc's past projects include a museum dedicated to Belgian artist and Tintin author Hergé and a concrete arts complex in Rio de Janeiro.
Photography is courtesy of House of Dior Seoul.
Local architect/project manager: DPJ & Partners
Fibreglass facade development: DPJ & Partners, Architecture Design Base
Structural engineer: CS Structural Engineering
GFRP facade quality control: Bureau Veritas
Lighting designer: L'Observatoire International
Main contractor: Kolon Global Corporation
GFRP facade sub-contractor: Design Base
Metal facade and curtain wall sub-contractor: Iljin Unisco