The building was designed by de Portzamparc for a corner plot in the luxury Gangnam shopping district, and also includes a gallery and cafe. It stands on the thoroughfare as the Leong Leong-designed 3.1 Phillip Lim store, and nearby the Paul Smith and Acne branches.
The sculptural white fibreglass panels, each measuring 20 metres tall, gently undulate in an attempt to depict the fluid movement of clothing created in Dior’s Haute Couture Atelier in Paris.
Some panels curl around the side of the building, while others part over the entrance to create an arched opening to the six-storey store, which sells both Dior mens and womenswear lines as well as accessories.
“I wanted the building to represent Dior and to reflect Christian Dior’s work. So I wanted the surfaces to flow, like the couturier’s soft, woven white cotton fabric,” explained de Portzamparc.
“These surfaces, which soar into the sky and undulate as if in motion, crossed by a few lines, are made from long moulded fibreglass shells, fitted together with aircraft precision.”
“In Seoul, where the quadrangular buildings align with the avenue, and which are all occupied by leading international fashion labels, the building stands out like a large sculptural tribute to Dior, inviting everyone to step inside.”
The panels were formed over giant wooden moulds and laid over a metal framework to create the shopfront. An inner layer of perforated anodised aluminium panels overlap above the glass doorway, creating an arched opening.
“The entrance, where two shells come together, is a sort of modern lancet arch, in which two metal mesh surfaces cross in line with the clothing metaphor,” said the architect.
A glazed cafe serving typically French fare in the form of macarons and pastries by confectionist Pierre Hermé is concealed behind wavy fibreglass balustrades at the top of the six-storey building.
Peter Marino designed the interior, which features monochrome tiled floors, mirrored walls and fabric draped candlers.
Slivers of glass inserted in the joins between panels help to naturally light the shop floors. The luxuriously glossy interiors are paired with contemporary artwork and furnishings, including Innerblow glass benches by Japanese design brand Nendo.