Lie Sang Bong is Korea's leading fashion designer who creates contemporary style reflecting traditional Korean and oriental aesthetics. His works are famous for inspired by Korean language, Hangeul. Unsangdong Architects and Lie Sang Bong have been discussing a collaboration for several years as they share the vision that “fashion is architecture and architecture is fashion”. They both believe there isn't a clear division among different sectors when it comes to lifestyle. Lie Sang Bong Tower is an iconic additional to Cheongdam Fashion District, which is a posh Gangnam area in Seoul. The building is right next to a luxury clothing brand Shinsegae International’s HQ designed by Olson Kundig. Unsangdong was conscious that this is a rare flagship store by a Korean designer in the neighborhood, which is packed with foreign high-end designer flagship stores, such as House of Dior by Christian de Portzamparc and Peter Marino, Givenchy HQ designed by Piuarch. The building needed to express the originality of Lie Sang Bong, a designer who’s famous for bringing traditional Korean component to his contemporary style.
The tower is sandwiched between two ordinary buildings. "We wanted to show a mismatch to create a feeling of something new and unexpected." say the architects. "We aimed to build Khora which exists between the real world and imaginary world. It connects the city and nature. It connects history and future. We wanted to say ‘no’ to normal skin (façade) of the building. Instead, we wanted to add the mapping of the Oriental landscape of mountain and river, to be precise, a famous landscape painting from 1447 in Korea (Joseon Dynasty) based on royal prince’s dream about Shangri-la by a renowned royal court painter. Similar to how the painting visualized the dream, we wanted to transform various types of abstract figures into the skin of the building by combining them with an imaginary shape. By breaking up and modifying coordinates which represent modernism, we discovered new space and structure which were hidden in typical rectangular coordinates. Curved and framed cross-section façade create ambiguous boundary and gap. It looks empty but it’s not empty. It creates spacing where everything is allowed to be born and continues to exist from transient sensual world to mortal form.” says Unsangdong’s principal Yoongyoo Jang. To achieve this, Unsangdong used vertical louvres as a base and developed subtle differences in their spacing. The architects spent close to a year perfecting and 3D-modelling the façade, creating a life-size mock-up and eight scale models in the process. The finished exterior is clad in waves of ceramic panels, chosen for their matt texture and durability.
Lie Sang Bong creates his own style by combining traditional Korean aesthetics with Western. Lie liked Unsangdong’s design which reinterpreted a traditional Korean painting. Both Lie and Unsangdong appreciate the curve which is common in Eastern Oriental painting and bases its aesthetics on the respect for nature which was dominant in Korean tradition.
Lie Sang Bong Tower is dedicated to fashion and lifestyle. The entrance level hosts a cafe and Lie’s lifestyle shop that sells goods by emerging Korean artists. From the ground floor to the 2nd floor are Lie's Showroom and studio. Above are rental space (4th-8th) and premium residence space and office (9th-13th floor). The top two floors (14th-15th) are devoted to cultural space managed by Lie Sang Bong as a gathering place and will be widely open for fashion and creative people. Unsangdong is discussing various cultural programs with Lie.
The significance of Unsangdong's projects lie in proposing spaces which allows crossing between different boundaries through architecture and art, fashion and music. Unsangdong refuses single text and thus creates spatial layering of programs by transformation and manipulation. Our projects sometimes focus on substituting hypertext-like facade by layering skins (façade) and objects for reading skins and objects as individual texts. Through such architectural way in this project, imagination surpassing physical law of nature and recognizing spatial body are layered like oriental mountain or cloud. The dynamic curves of the building's front elevation are its most challenging element. This skin facade expresses the concept of Chora which exists between real world and imaginary world as well as Runway of fashion show which represents the real character of this building.