Jean Nouvel’s Dolce & Gabbana Seoul store is ensconced in glass and black granite

Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, the luxury fashion boutique’s new flagship store in South Korea boasts of opulent aesthetics enclosed in a cylindrical volume.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Feb 23, 2021

Proving a synergy between Dolce & Gabbana’s inimitable brand identity and the signature style of Jean Nouvel, the current flagship store of the luxury fashion brand at Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam district, Seoul, is a statement unto itself. This collaboration between not just these significant names, but design and aesthetical sensibilities, goes as long back as 2009, wherein Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana had already collaborated with Jean Nouvel on an exhibition at the Palazzo della Ragione in Milan. Their latest collaboration yields a luxuriant yet partly minimal edifice of commercial architecture on the main luxury street of Seoul, seeking to revamp the district’s profile itself, and serving as an “architectural ode to the encounter between love for tradition and ceaseless innovation”.

  • The store displaying the new Dolce&Gabbana Collection; the design comprises a cylindrical glass volume bound by four granite cuboidal volumes | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The store displaying the new Dolce&Gabbana Collection; the design comprises a cylindrical glass volume bound by four granite cuboidal volumes Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • The store is located at a significant street intersection at Cheongdam-dong | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The store is located at a significant street intersection at Cheongdam-dong Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design

The building’s distinct design has a striking, complementary duality between material and form. The exterior of the building can in summation be quoted to be a play between its definitive cylindrical and cuboidal volumes, aided by its elaborate use of contrasting materials between glass, a signifier of transparency, and black granite, a signifier of hardness and opacity. The primary functional spaces of the store’s display are thus planned and designed to be ensconced in a cylinder of extra clear glass, bound between four cuboidal black granite volumes doubling up as ‘pillars’ for the structure. Located at the corner of a significant street intersection, the store is said to offer the ‘city’ a view of the D&G collections preserved within, like a museum, through a convex glass façade opening on two sides.

  • The store’s interior design and layout by Jean Nouvel Design follows the cylindrical form of the store’s display | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The store’s interior design and layout by Jean Nouvel Design follows the cylindrical form of the store’s display Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • The store displaying the new Dolce&Gabbana Collection | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The store displaying the new Dolce&Gabbana Collection Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design

The interiors of the store too, carried out by Jean Nouvel Design, are done up in consonance with the exteriors’ restricted material palette, and as a response to the distinct cylindrical form. Minimalist in tone yet adding to the grandiosity of the store, the outlet is dominated by the use of black in numerous shades and finishes across materials: glossy black in glass, grey in concrete, and a hybrid matte black in anodised aluminium. The overall sophisitication of the environment is added on to by the nuance of mango wood used for the store’s timber requirements and woodwork.

  • The concentric layout of the store is lined by mosaic Nero Marquina marble flooring | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The concentric layout of the store is lined by mosaic Nero Marquina marble flooring Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • The layout is guided by a spiral ramp at the centre of the store | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The layout is guided by a spiral ramp at the centre of the store Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • Seaters and display stands along the stairs guide the visitor | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    Seaters and display stands along the stairs guide the visitor Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design

The boutique’s interior design develops along a large spiral ramp, clad in mosaic Nero Marquina marble, seamlessly connecting through all four floors of the building. This “vortex” like arrangement at the centre guides the visitor upwards to discover the iconic Dolce & Gabbana collections, enhancing in ascending order from floor to floor, accompanied by an intuitive, high end lighting system design. The store’s display, that extends from the concentric spaces around the spiral to the ramp, is characterised by a succession of modular elements and fixtures, to which shelves and rods can be affixed at different heights, lending a layer of dynamism to the store’s display that can be ever changing. The corners enclosed inside the black granite volumes offer additional spaces for either display or intimate dressing areas.

  • The interior scheme primarily comprises an opulent black colour palette | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The interior scheme primarily comprises an opulent black colour palette Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • Modular shelves in mango wood along the ramp serve as additional display spaces | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    Modular shelves in mango wood along the ramp serve as additional display spaces Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • The experience is enhanced by an intuitive, high end lighting system design | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The experience is enhanced by an intuitive, high end lighting system design Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design

The terrace of the establishment is treated as an extension of the experience that the store envisions to provide with an exclusive lounge. Designed with a strong contemporary outlook in all black, the recreational space is surmounted by a large semi-circular canopy that the architects cite and treat as an ideal termination of the spiral ramp springing through the centre of the store. Adorned with black upholstery, lined with black metal seats along a black granite bar, the space matches the upmarket brand brief, and provides for a spot of conviviality.

  • The central ramp on the upper floors is enclosed by black anodised aluminium bars | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The central ramp on the upper floors is enclosed by black anodised aluminium bars Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design
  • The terrace lounge is intended as a spot of relaxation, social interaction, and conviviality | Dolce & Gabbana flagship store, Seoul | Ateliers Jean Nouvel | STIRworld
    The terrace lounge is intended as a spot of relaxation, social interaction, and conviviality Image: ©Dolce&Gabbana. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jean Nouvel Design

Project Details

Name: Dolce&Gabbana, Seoul
Location: Cheongdam Street, Seoul, South Korea
Completion: February 2021
Program: Independent building including a basement, 4 sales storeys for the brand’s clothing, accessories, jewelry collection, and a rooftop terrace with martini bar for events
Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Interior Design: Jean Nouvel Design
Client: Dolce&Gabbana
Usable Floor Area: 911 sq.m.
Gross Floor Area: 835 sq.m.

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