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Paul Smith’s First Flagship Store in Asia

Designed by The_System Lab, Paul Smith’s flagship store in Gangnam, South Korea intentionally opens itself up to different interpretations.

BY Janice Seow

December 4th, 2014

British fashion brand Paul Smith has chosen South Korea’s Gangnam - a well-known hub for luxury brands – as the location for its first flagship store in Asia. The streets here are lined with exclusive boutiques for high-end brands, and so it was interesting to see how Paul Smith would make a lasting impression and stand out from the crowd. ps_011214_01-940x845 The_System Lab have defined the main characteristic of Paul Smith’s fashion brand as its ability to draw out different responses, depending on the customer’s situation and interpretation, and they have infused this concept into the design. ps_011214_04-940x867 While the specific shape of the building was predetermined, its interpretation is open to all, depending on the unique perspective of each customer. ps_011214_05-940x890 The restricted 330sqm area and high-density commercial district surrounding the site proved to be a design challenge for the team. ps_011214_09-940x1064 ps_011214_10-940x1165 Due to the volume that exceeded the initial floor area ratio, the oblique 30-metre line limitation imposed by the road and the constrictions created by sunlight rights, the designers had to create a concrete shell that maximised the floor area ratio within the legal regulations by rounding, cutting or connecting all the edges. Through the method of emphasising succession rather than completion, they were eventually able to create a relatively spacious building compared to other developments in the neighborhood. ps_011214_13-940x956 In order to establish a concrete shell reflecting succession, the designers employed for the first time, curved Styrofoam blocks using an NV cutter as concrete moulds. Compared to manipulating plywood moulds by correction, this method was significantly more cost-efficient. According to the designers, the semi-gloss industrial paint finishes are expected to conceal commercial and structural devices and imbue a freer and more pleasant feeling to viewers - much like a typical design from Paul Smith. ps_011214_14-940x893 The_System Lab