Creativity is a hallmark in architecture, as shown by the shopping center that we present to you this week, made up of stacked sunken houses.
My favorite city is the one where a surprise appears behind every corner and, when you think you know it completely, it goes and changes. And it is that a city must be a living and transformable entity, amorphous but aesthetic. A place to grow and shrink, rise and fall, the closest thing to a Live Uncle of yesteryear, but eminently comfortable. Of course, Seoul meets these requirements, and to prove it, the shopping center that I present to you this week.
This is the Korean company Simone Ltd., which opted in 2015 for an innovative creation: a building designed by the Tru Architects studio. For years, Simone has manufactured products for international brands such as Michael Kors, Burberry, Tory Burch or Coach, among others, but now, with this branch, she intends to place her luxury label concept on the Asian market.
It is spectacular mall of 0194
The name of the brand is 0194. Four digits that try to break through in the stormy international market with the flagship that you are seeing in the images, and that is located in the most popular haute couture shopping area in Seoul. This location, right in front of Dosan Park, makes it one of the most important stores in the region. Additionally, to achieve clear differentiation, the company held an architecture competition, which was won by the True team.
The trade is distributed over seven floors where we find brand stores, a cafeteria, a restaurant, and the art gallery where they present the leather crafts that characterize them in the making and execution of bags. Due to the long history of the company, the architects came up with the idea of housing the brand’s products in a town, hence the magical shape of the building, both outside and inside.
A building that simulates the shape of a small town
Of course, inserting a small town on a limited lot can be an impossible execution, so the designers decided to stack the houses in the town in reverse, as if it were a negative. Thus they have carved the houses inverted in a brick rhomboid, which occupies the limits of the plot, filling these spaces with small shops and trade studios. Speechless.
To further enhance the polymorphic silhouette of the houses, a white stone cladding was placed on the exterior. In this way, the main façade has a touch of elegance and allows the inclusion of the 0194 logo in a very distinctive way. From the exterior to the interior, the star material is terracotta brick, a very popular, economical and versatile element in construction.
Shops, restaurants and green areas. all in one building
The entire property is joined vertically thanks to the concept of a square. In this way, the idea that artisans and designers can live together with customers and visitors becomes palpable. A brick staircase leads to an open space, designed as a catwalk for fashion shows, and to the roof of the building, which is transformed into the green area of the town, with shallow ponds and plant elements.
In total, the area of the building covers some 2,377 square meters, and its construction was completed in 2017. The interior shape itself is used to subdivide the spaces, creating unique stepped plates, placing stairs behind the sloping roofs, and increasing the possibilities of each corner of the trade. All this, connected by a central element that acts as a vertical transport core.
A shopping center where you can escape from the outside world
The cafeteria and the art gallery are located in the first basement, at the height of the square. They are shaped like a patio, and allow light and air to enter the underground plants. Another wonder of this building is that its two lower floors, whose use is intended for building services and vehicle parking, are accessed by a car lift, making the most of the space.
In the end, a shopping center has a greater sense of independence from the rest of the environment than a residential building. In short, it is about entering the property so that we can concentrate only on the tasks that we want to carry out, without having to know what is happening in the rest of the planet. The flagship fully complies with this, and allows visitors and occupants to breathe fresh air on the roof and in the basement, also allowing light to enter through its many windows. Although, yes, avoiding outside noise with thick walls.
A building that catches all visitors
All the elements speak to us of an artisan town. From the mentioned bricks in each wall, or forming vaults in the workshops; going through the wooden planks in the form of ceilings or flooring in some rooms, to the rustic traditional stone walls, the tiles of some inclined roof panels or, on the other hand, the shape of the rooms, small, but spacious thanks to to the glass windows.
The best thing about the building is the concept of trapping old craftsmen and new apprentices, designers and brand promoters, customers and lost visitors who just want to enjoy a show in one place. My group would be the latter, lost, hoping to find in this corner of a populous city, a haven of peace different from the usual ones.