Department store Galleria, designed by OMA / Chris van Duijn, has opened in Gwanggyo, a new town just south of Seoul. Located at the center of this young urban development surrounded by tall residential towers, the Galleria’s stone-like appearance makes it a natural point of gravity for public life in Gwanggyo.
The Gwanggyo store is the sixth branch of Galleria—Korea’s largest upscale department store franchise founded in the 1970s. Sculpted as a stone volume with a textured mosaic stone façade, the building evokes the nature of its neighbouring Suwon Gwanggyo Lake Park. A public route is excavated from the stone volume and connects the public side walk to a roof garden—to include both retail and cultural activities. It introduces an innovative element to the traditional typology of a department store.
The public route has a multifaceted glass façade that contrasts with the opacity of the stone. Through the glass, retail and cultural activities inside are revealed to the city’s passers-by, while visitors in the interior acquire new vantage points to experience Gwanggyo. Formed with a sequence of cascading terraces, the public loop offers spaces for exhibitions and performances.
OMA Partner Chris van Duijn: “With a public loop deliberately designed for cultural offerings, Galleria in Gwanggyo is a place where visitors engage with architecture and culture as they shop. They leave with a unique retail experience blended with pleasant surprises after each visit.”
OMA Associate Ravi Kamisetti: “The Public Loop entwines Gwanggyo and the Galleria by making visible and tangible the activities of shopping typically hidden from the city.”
Hanwha Galleria President and CEO Eun Soo Kim: “Galleria Gwanggyo is the largest department store that Galleria has opened in ten years and will play a pivotal role as a core branch providing premium MD lineup and the best VIP facilities and services. In addition, through collaboration with world-class architect OMA, it is well received both domestically and internationally for its creative architecture that is distinct from typical department store format, which applies a new paradigm that ‘transmits light throughout the building through the Public Loop’. Galleria Gwanggyo is the most beautiful department store and is expected to become a unique landmark representing Korea and the world, providing a new inspiration to customers.”
The project is led by Chris van Duijn, Associate Ravi Kamisetti, and Project Architect Patrizia Zobernig. The local executive architect is Gansam.
News courtesy of OMA