Just days after the grand opening of the newly renovated Louis Vuitton London store at the iconic Bond Street, Peter Marino once again takes charge of redesigning a flagship boutique of the Parisian Maison. Teaming up with the architectural icon Frank Gehry, together they created a new home for the luxury fashion house, in Seoul.
On the location of a previously existing Louis Vuitton boutique in Seoul, South Korea’s capital, architect Frank Gehry has created a new look for the luxury brand, that enhances and celebrates its strong relationship with Korean culture. Located in the city’s Gangnam District, the architectural building is the Gehry’s first creation in South Korea and also shares many resemblances with the Louis Vuitton Foundation, in Paris, who was also designed by Frank Gehry.
Along with Peter Marino‘s various spaces dedicated to retail services, the building also includes a space on the upper level that currently hosts an exclusive collection of Giacometti sculptures.
The entire front of the Louis Vuitton store’s structure is made in glass, beginning with a high zig-zagging vestibule and window, leading up to a series of enclosed terraces. The façade culminates in waves of louvred panels, which Frank Gehry designed to give the impression of flight.
“What struck me when I first visited Seoul nearly 25 years ago, was the relationship between the architecture and the natural landscape,” Frank Gehry explains. “I still remember clearly the powerful impressions I had stepping up from the garden of jongmyo shrine.”
The windows on Louis Vuitton‘s Seoul store present a colourful cluster of paper trees, developed in collaboration with Frank Gehry. Dyed with vivid pigment, these to scale sculptures are inspired by the architect’s models of trees, which are crafted from a single piece of paper.
Inside, the building’s five floors contain a host of “retail universes” designed by Peter Marino. The American architect used the vast volumes to create contrasting spaces, from the 12-meter-tall (39ft) entrance hall to more intimate lounges.
“The interior spaces were designed with a Miesian rigour to more strongly emphasize the billowing energetic sculptural quality of Frank Gehry’s exterior,” says Peter Marino. “The interior stone flows in from the exterior. The dynamism of the rectangular volumes cleanly contrasts with the baroque glass shields of the building.”
Much like the London location, the basement presents Louis Vuitton‘s men’s collections, while the glass vestibule on the first floor opens directly onto a space devoted to women’s collections. Smaller, private salons around the main atrium create an intimate shopping experience, a feeling carried through the second floor and onto the third story, which also houses a private space and an enclosed terrace that can be used for a range of exclusive events.
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