Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green design gone literal: I dig it!

Ann Demelmeester's store in the Gangham district of Seoul, South Korea is one of four concept stores showcasing the fashions of the Flemish designer. How exciting is this? Great design meets fashion!

As if one needs another reason to love the vertical gardening movement--this buildings facade is entirely covered in living, breathing green matter. Even one of the indoor stairways is entirely lined with moss. The building is so spectacular; I wonder whether it overshadows the clothes that are on sale inside.

The space, a "synthetic organism", took four months to design, and another six to construct. Seoul architecture firm Mass Studies headed up the project, led by Minsuk Cho (whose ‘Heyri Dalki Theme Park’ was exhibited at the 2004 Venice Biennale). Although obvious considerations to environmentally-conscience design choices are evident, it is unclear exactly how "green" and efficient the building actually is. For example, how much water does it take to keep the building looking that green, inside and out?

The outside building material is primarily a geotextile planted with a herbaceous perennial to form a living fa├žade, while the other three sides that face bamboo borders are clad in steel sheets are finished with propylene resin.

"Mass Studies was founded in 2003 by Minsuk Cho in Seoul, Korea, as a critical investigation of architecture in the context of mass production, intensely over-populated urban conditions, and other emergent cultural niches that define contemporary society. Amid the many frictions defining spatial conditions in the twenty-first century, namely past vs. future, local vs. global, utopia vs. reality, and individual vs. collective, Mass Studies focuses on the operative complexity of these multiple conditions instead of striving for a singular, unified perspective."
--Marcus Fairs dezeen, design magazine.

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