seoul: sulwhasoo flagship store opening

© neri & hu / photography: pedro pegenaute

at the forefront of innovation, korean cosmetics have quickly gained a global popularity in recent years. one of the country's leading players in the field with a portfolio of more than 25 different brands is amore pacific. positioned as a high-end skincare brand among the range, and with a large following both home and abroad, is sulwhasoo. it has too seen a steep rise in demand and popularity abroad, and the recent opening of a prestigious flagship store in seoul undoubtedly banks on this new stature. the store is situated in shinsadong, a swanky shopping zone in the south korean capital that's brimming with high-profile boutiques, restaurants and art galleries.

the five-storey building it occupies was built in 2003 by korean architect kim hyo man, but features a brand new interior design by shanghai-based practice neri & hu. given the facts that sulhwasoo is a korean corporation and that its product line and contemporary innovations stem from asian values, a design concept was formulated that would both embrace and signal this specific heritage. as such, the design adopted the shape of a lantern, an object that's widely seen as typically asian. this has resulted in the addition – or should we say insertion? – of a brass volume that mimicks, albeit in duplicated form, the object's outline.

it meanders from the ground floor all the way up to the rooftop terrace, featuring many voids and openings, encompassing product displays, mirrors and light fixtures long the way. as sulwhasoo's trophy flagship, the store comes with additional features, and the main one being the spa facility in the basement. the facility boasts dark brick walls, earthy grey stone treatment rooms and crafted wood floors. each floor up, the palette becomes lighter and more open, inviting shoppers to interact and explore the retail store. obviously, the sulwhasoo flagship store carries the brand's full range of women's and men's skincare products and women's makeup. location: 650 shinsadong [shinsadong].

© neri & hu / photography: pedro pegenaute