Sulwhasoo Flagship, Seoul

Designed by: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
For client: Amorepacific Corporation Floor area: 1949.00 M² Year of completion: 2016
Nominated for: 年度单一品牌店

About the Project

The literal and mythological meaning of the lantern is highly significant in Asian cultures - a light to lead you through darkness, showing the way and indicating the beginning and end of a journey. Neri&Hu’s radical transformation of an existing five-storey building into a grand flagship store for cosmetic brand Sulwhasoo takes inspiration from this symbolic interpretation of a lantern.

The insertion of a continuous brass structure as a lantern unifies the sequence of the spaces while guiding visitors through the series of voids and openings that allow them to  fully experience the structure. A series of mirrored volumes reflect and amplify the endless space, while the wide wooden floor boards become the solid ground on which the delicate structure rests - occasionally growing into large wooden blocks, on top of which Sulwhasoo’s products are displayed. The entire journey is a juxtaposition between two contrasting elements – enclosed and open, darkness and light, delicate detail and sweeping space.

This holistic approach to the concept of a lantern is the essence of the Sulwhasoo store, giving visitors a sense of intrigue and inviting them to explore the space.

What’s unique about it

The Sulwhasoo store design takes inspiration from the lantern - a symbolic and literal guide in Asian cultures. The glimmering brass structure immediately captures attention as visitors approach, promising an experience that continues to unfold in their the journey through the space.

The lantern-inspired structure unifies the sequence of spaces while performing a variety of other roles. It shapes and envelops the different functional areas from the interior to the façade to the roof terrace, and brings lightness to the cavernous stone-clad basement, whilst functioning as the base structure of hanging light fixtures. Finally, on the rooftop, it becomes a soft space divider, extending perspectives and blurring views.

The contrast between enclosed and open, darkness and light, delicate detail and sweeping space provides visitors with an unforgettable experience, rich in conceptual rigour and strong materiality.

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