This three-level flagship store for Polo Ralph Lauren is located near DosanPark in Sinsa-dong, an area considered by many high end designers and savvy young Koreans to be the next cutting edge shopping district in Seoul since Cheongdam. The design concept for Polo’s first flagship in Korea marks a modern departure from the more traditional Polo aesthetic.
The retail store-consisting of a ground level entry floor connected by a grand stair to floors above and below- is a retrofit within an existing 5 storey building. In addition to the retail space, the architect redesigned the exterior of the existing building, incorporating Polo’s new signature look. To pull together the disparate components of the existing façade and create a distinct Ralph Lauren building, the architect clad the façade in honed limestone in a running bond and replaced existing windows to the commercial spaces above with punched strip windows. To mask an additive part of the old façade, the architect designed louvers of Afzelia wood which clip over the old façade and then turn up to create a canopy over the rooftop garden. This helps the building to read as a single structure with a “brise soleil” instead of a jumble of materials and forms. The building sits on a stepped plinth of black granite, to further set it apart from its neighbors and to tie together the parts into a cohesive whole branded for Polo Ralph Lauren.
The façade appears to float over a glass storefront, butt-jointed to created a seamless appearance. A thick band of brushed stainless steel forms the canopy with backlit cherry wood louvers above. Backlit cherry wood louvers behind the storefront glass glow gently in the evening, gradating from bright to dark.
On the interior, a stone floor of honed, rough tumbled edge Limestone in a true random pattern flows throughout the store. Each floor reads as a series of cascading levels; an idea that is reflected in the overlapping floating planes of the Irocco wood plank ceiling. The interior casework is made up of rooms of White Lacquer or Cherry wood, with accent fireplaces of Belgian Black Marble. The three floors are pulled together visually with a self-supported, sculptural stair that is finished in white Venetian plaster. The thick, angular walls of the stair anchor the floating planes of each floor and create the internal focus of the space.