on the site of a previously existing louis vuitton store in seoul, frank gehry has designed a new ‘maison’ for the fashion house that celebrates its strong relationship with korean culture. located in the city’s gangnam district, the building is the architect’s first creation in south korea and shares many similarities with the fondation louis vuitton in paris — also designed by gehry. as well as the different ‘retail universes’ designed by peter marino, the building also includes a space on the upper level that currently hosts an exclusive collection of giacometti sculptures.
all images by yong joon choi
the entire front of the structure is clad with glass, beginning with a high zig-zagging vestibule and window, leading up to a series of enclosed terraces. the façade culminates in waves of louvered 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,’ gehry explains. ‘I still remember clearly the powerful impressions I had stepping up from the garden of jongmyo shrine.’
louis vuitton maison seoul’s windows present a colorful 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 rigor to more strongly emphasize the billowing energetic sculptural quality of gehry’s exterior,’ says marino. ‘the interior stone flows in from the exterior. the dynamism of the rectangular volumes cleanly contrast with the baroque glass shields of the building’. 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. see other louis vuitton projects on designboom here.
video courtesy of louis vuitton
name: louis vuitton maison seoul
location: seoul, south korea
client: louis vuitton
design: frank gehry and peter marino
status: open as of october 30, 2019
photography: yong joon choi
philip stevens I designboom
nov 01, 2019