A new icon in the heart of Gangnam-gu, one of Seoul's largest districts, this 15-story building unites more than 500 Shinsegae employees who were previously spread between several buildings throughout the city. The program includes staff offices and meeting spaces, design studios, a rooftop garden and sculpture park, and ground-level retail and restaurant space that face onto a public plaza.
The design concept for Shinsegae's new headquarters is derived from three themes: 1) fashion - moveable facade and the crafted aesthetic of its construction reflect the ever changing nature of the fashion business; 2) experience - the building can morph and change, inviting personal engagement with the structure; and 3) the unexpected - the building defies the conformity of mid-rise towers by incorporating a fresh visual play of scale, hierarchy and proportion within the design of its envelope.
Movement and materiality are particularly evident within the buildings' first four floors where seven custom eight-foot-diameter steel wheels open and close 35-foot-tall external panels to modulate daylight. The dynamic ethos of the fashion world is captured in these kinetic components; each time the panels are engaged in a new configuration the building's presence is altered anew.
The high-performance custom-designed façade is a direct response to the client's desire for a corporate flagship that departs from the traditional look-and-feel of modern commercial buildings. Designed to meet Korea's progressive energy codes, which are more rigorous that the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® standards, the building's skin incorporates a range of technologies that reduce heat gain while optimizing thermal comfort and maximizing natural daylight. Each component of the gridded façade contributes to the structural fidelity of the building as much as its unique aesthetic, evoking a sense of woven material or tapestry - another nod to the fashion industry.