After Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow, Max Mara’s traveling Coats! exhibition settles in Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the city’s Zaha Hadid landmark. Designed by Migliore + Servetto Architects, the retrospective is meant to engage visitors in a narrative of the fashion house’s history and heritage through a series of immersive experiences. ‘Art and culture play a big part in our lives,’ co-founder Ico Migliore reveals in Frame 119 – adding that exhibitions can replace lunch, being just as important as food to him and his wife.

‘In Seoul the set-up is not designed strictly as a fashion show,’ explains the Milan-based architects, ‘but rather a journey of investigation to understand where the Max Mara creativity comes from and how it takes shape.’

An impressive cupola, inspired by the drawings of 18th-century visionary architect Étienne-Louis Boullée, emerges from the dark in a play of light and shadow. Surrounded by seven irregular rectangular volumes, the structure engages in a dialogue with the architecture. ‘The set-up was designed as a strong narrative instrument, deliberately speaking with the place where it is installed, with a very strong change of scale,’ the architects point out. Korean artist Yiyun Kang’s digital installation is projected onto the 13-m high dome, taking inspiration from the Max Mara archive and adding to the immersive experience of visitors. Accessible from any direction, the structure allows visitors to freely discover the exhibition by creating their own pathways through it.

Selections of garments in each of the seven wonder-rooms represent the different eras in the history of the fashion house, from the 1950s to present day.  These ‘cabinets of curiosities’ contain not only clothing but also a collection of objects, fabrics, historical images and theatrical sets including sounds, music, scents and tactile experiences. Each room is transformed into an archival microcosm that fully immerses visitors in the brand history and identity. ‘We wanted to create a journey in subsequent chronological order that show the company’s “behind the scenes”, revealing to the visitor the creative process of the Max Mara backstage,’ say Migliore and Servetto.

Location 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea 

The Max Mara Coats! exhibition is open in Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza until 12 December 2017.

The latest issue of Frame 119 follows a day in the life of Ico Migliore, co-founder of Migliore + Servetto Architects. Get your copy today.