The Korean Tulip of Dior
Seam in the outside, seam in the inside, not could have been erected a best Mansion in Seoul for the luxury brand by excellence.
Hi, how affects the maximum expression of the luxury to the architecture? Or, expressed in another way, can we understand the architecture without the luxury? If you ask to your tireless «search engine» of materials and construction systems, Rodolfo (I, of course), sure that he would tell you something witty and disturbing, as, for example, «asks Dior!»
Recently I was invited (of course) to the opening of the Maison of Dior in Seoul, specifically in the luxurious Cheongdam Dong District. This district has been transformed in the commitment of the French brand by the market of South Korea. A building that weaves the Haute Couture with the architecture and who dares with new challenges, such as, for example, the merger of three different materials in the creation of a fantastic facade that lights up the street from the end more opposed (if you think it is true, I was pleasantly surprised). Click here to watch the video on the building.
The outcomes accompany the company in the first half of this year, and with this new incursion anyone doubts their growth in the Asian market. So, with the wind in favor, Dior decided to embark on this new adventure that involves the completion of the last (for now) brand boutique. The design of the building was conducted by the famed Christian de Portzamparc, in whose career has a Pritzker Prize from 1994 (not-so-distant).
The architect, of the old school, was not only based on his professional experience, also he got involved with the art of sewing, scrutinizing with interest for find the idea I wanted to express. Thus, the construction is clearly separated in two volumes, which reflect two ideas clear and antagonistic: the lightness and the absoluteness. The first represented by the shades of white of the façade and its different provisions in layers of metal and glass, together with the asymmetry (parts of the building that not saved spatial relationship between them) of its exterior. The second, represented by a sullen and rectangular volume, of which comes the first, merging ideas in a subtle and elegant, as the House of fashion would.
The construction is distributed in six floors, with an art gallery, a lounge VIP (where make presentations), and, as a pleasant surprise, two plants unique to the Dior Homme collection, obviously, I took note of what I need to buy. When you enter in the building, you can see the hand of the other great architect of the design in this great work, Peter Marino, whose experience includes houses as Chanel, Loewe and Louis Vuitton among others. He was who decided to greet us with a sculpture of Lee Bul. Also had to do with the arrangement and choice of interior decoration, where the decorations shine with their own light: woods, lacquers, leather, unique fabrics…
If I did not say it, the opening of the building was on 20 June, and, if I have not said you, I have two places which, undoubtedly, will impress you. The first is the spiral staircase that reach different levels intended for the prêt-à-porter, with the most varied collection of Dior (shoes, perfumes, jewelry, bags…) for the Femme, all elegantly distributed with the due harmonization of tones in different walls and furniture. As all important stairs combines aesthetics and functionality, thus, gives a feeling of weightlessness comparable to the (fantastic) facade, this time by two equally opposing concepts: transparency on a railing and the reflection in the other, however, the effect of enlargement of the space is to sit and admire it.
My other place is favorite for three reasons. The first by the location, the top floor which includes terrace outside, the second by the function, is a plant intended to Cafeteria with a superb and luminous design which include the large floor-to-ceiling windows, and, most importantly, the third reason, has its own name: Pierre Hermé, a renowned French pastry chef who comes from a line of chefs and he has written numerous books and has distributed its boutiques by the world. Hermé has prepared a letter special for Dior coffe (so called) with unique products, such as the Ispahan (association of rose, litchi and raspberry), and other surprises that I will not reveal (at least today).
As gift for the visitors to this new flagship, Dior has launched an exclusive collection that only will be sold there, accessories and handbags with the phrase of Limited Edition that, surely, become in the obsession for the many adorers of the brand.
But now you are going to allow me that I return to the facade. In 2011 Portzamparc begins to glimpse what will be the outside surface, it is clear that he wants to cover it in such a way that it represents a dress. He dissects this huge fabric in eleven parts, in the form of folds or pieces of cloth that exits the metal box (enormous). These huge areas (of up to 20 meters height) had to be made with a very special material, an intense work of experimentation was necessary to achieve this. Conclusion: the fusion of resins, plaster and fabric, in unique molds and with a colossal size.
With this discovery they moved to Seoul, where it prepared the molds and gave life to the panels that perfectly simulate the weightlessness, the touch and the fluidity of a fabric. They required large transports and the blockade of the main arteries of the city to move these pieces from the factory to its resting place. Once there began another equally singular work, using two cranes led the elements to its final location, them respecting the necessary franchises for proper dilation of various materials. The dilation is the property that most affects the design of a building, so it is not a trivial matter, limits us the size, the distribution and the efficiency. The useful life of the building depends of the rigorous implementation of these parameters (resounding).
For me, this is a clear example of the combination of the different qualities of materials: adhesion of the resins, workability of the gypsum and the tensile strength of the fabric. Bye bye.