Famous American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry designed the new Louis Vuitton house in Seoul, in the prestigious Gangnam district. Opened on October 30, 2019, this is his first creation in South Korea. For this project, the architect has chosen to refer to the concept of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, which he also designed. He also drew inspiration from architectural features specific to South Korea such as the Hwaseong Fortress, the plunging moves and immaculate white suits of the traditional Dongnae Hakchum dance.
The project was designed mainly from curved glass, a true trademark of Frank Gehry. This material wraps around the entire building, housing an impressive vestibule and sales areas on several levels. The curved and sinusoidal windows lead visitors to different covered terraces.
The frontage ends with waves of skeleton panels giving the impression of a takeoff. To reinforce this feeling of weightlessness, the walls and base of the building have been constructed in white stone. “What struck me when I first visited Seoul 25 years ago was the relationship between architecture and natural landscape” relates Frank Gehry, adding: “I am delighted to have designed the Louis Vuitton house in Seoul, which reflects the traditional values of Korean culture. ”
As for the American architect Peter Marino, he imagined the different sales universes inside the store, spread over five floors. In particular, he used variations in volume to create contrasting spaces, ranging from the 12-meter high entrance hall to small, more pampering retail spaces. “The inner stone flows from the outside. The dynamism of the rectangular volumes contrasts sharply with the baroque glass panels in the building” he says.
The basement of the house in Seoul presents the masculine collections of Louis Vuitton, while the first floor is devoted to women’s prêt-à-porter, accessories and jewelry. The second floor, with a more intimate atmosphere, hosts a multitude of lounges surrounding the atrium, as well as a terrace that can be privatized. Finally, under the glass roof of the last level, there is an exclusive exhibition of sculptures by the Swiss artist Giacometti.
The windows of the Maison Vuitton display a colorful group of paper trees created in collaboration with Frank Gehry. Tinted with a brightly colored pigment, these sculptures, made to scale, are made from a single piece of paper.
Photo credits : Yong Joon Choi