The Seoul Galleria Department Store exists within a typical system of highly specialized department stores, each representing a microcosm with its own eco-climate to which its customers are finely attuned. Situated at the top end of this system, the Galleria Fashion Hall, together with the nearby Galleria Masterpiece Hall, carry a large number of highly prestigious brands, and consequently attract visitors from a wide area, including Japan.
The Galleria Fashion Hall is prominently situated in the Apgujeong-dong district, one of the trendiest commercial districts in Seoul. From the outside, however, the store appeared unremarkable. In October 2003, the Galleria hired UN Studio to design a new facade and interior to mark the store’s transformation - in their own marketing-originated words - ‘from novel to noble’, becoming more ‘luxurious’ while remaining ‘trendy and unique’.
The exterior renewal, completed in September 2004, consisted in the application of 4330 glass discs to a metal substructure directly attached to the existing façade. The discs are treated with a special iridescent foil, causing constant changes in the perception of the façade. At night, a special lighting scheme, jointly designed by UN Studio and Arup Lighting, illuminates the discs by reflecting the dynamics of weather conditions during the day.
Interior renovation focused on the general store areas between the individual branded shops. UN Studio has sought to streamline circulation spaces, providing ‘catwalks’ with light-coloured, glossy co-ordinated walkways and ceilings that improve orientation and give the store a super-bright, fresh image.
Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos