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 neighboring Suwon Gwanggyo Lake Park. A public route is excavated from the stone volume and connects the public sidewalk 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.
“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,” says OMA Partner Chris van Duijn. “They leave with a unique retail experience blended with pleasant surprises after each visit.”
“The Public Loop entwines Gwanggyo and the Galleria by making visible and tangible the activities of shopping typically hidden from the city,” adds OMA Associate Ravi Kamisetti.
“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,” explains Hanwha Galleria President and CEO Eun Soo Kim. “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.