Kenzo presents a fashion-forward façade to win over shoppers in Seoul

Seoul, South Korea – ‘The facade design is in essence serial and somewhat minimal,’ said the namesake founder of the multidisciplinary design studio Rafael de Cárdenas/Architecture at Large. He is speaking about RDC/AAL’s frontage design for Kenzo’s newest flagship, located in the active commercial area of Gangnam. Along with Kenzo creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the studio created a face that speaks to the playfulness of the brand, while building a representation that stands out from the many neighbouring stores.

Lime green, a colour favoured by the French brand, has been used liberally in the design of their classic tiger sweatshirt, and even was the hue of choice for Michelle Obama’s Kenzo gear on her first visit to Tokyo. Naturally, Cárdenas employed the vivid shade for the 862 conical shapes that represent the thread spools of fashion construction – identifying the tools of process essential to the trade. The design studio also chose to expose the powder-coated metal grid that behaves as the attachment system for the installation, as a way of interpreting the physicality of brick-and-mortar stores in a digital age.  

862 conical shapes have been assembled to create Kenzo's Seoul flagship facade. 

‘We kept in mind that the design had to be distinctly directional and impactful,’ Cárdenas stated. The dynamic architectural feature creates a dimensional pattern that ultimately acts as a calling card. For the South Korean consumer, retail spaces have to provide more than goods: they have to deliver experience and service. Kenzo’s directors and RDC/AAL described the role of shopping in South Korea as ‘almost a national sport.’ Cheongdam-dong Fashion Street, where the shop is located, is made up of a string of high-end retailers all vying for the attention of Seoul’s super wealthy, as well as the growing tourist economy. With South Korea positioned as the fourth fastest growing luxury goods market, the spending power of Chinese and international visitors is luring a diverse range of global fashion brands to Gangnam.

This just confirms that, these days, you still have to get people in to play the game.

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