Foster + Partners has designed the newest Apple Store in South Korea, Apple Myeongdong, which recently opened at the heart of Seoul’s vibrant commercial center. The store is positioned at the base of a new 20-story mixed-use tower, extending the full width of the city block to create a grand street frontage.
This is how Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, described the store: “Apple Myeongdong is a pocket of tranquility in the heart of Seoul, set against the energy and vibrancy of the city. The glazed façade and greenery flowing into the store seek to blur the boundaries between the inside and outside, creating both visual and physical connections with the urban fabric. It is the embodiment of Seoul at its best.”
The store faces the bustling thoroughfare of Myeongdong, while the flanking elevations face the busy side streets that connect to the adjacent neighborhood. Landscaped pocket spaces have been incorporated at the corner intersections of the site, creating sheltered meeting points for the surrounding community.
Apple Myeongdong has been designed to integrate seamlessly into the surrounding urban fabric; the floor finishes flow from the inside to the outside across the glazed facades. The landscape also flows into the store through a shaded grove of trees within the grand atrium. In addition, the pocket parks create small tranquil havens that offer an escape from the busy street.
The distinguishing feature of Apple Myeongdong is using sculptures by Lee Jaehyo and VAKKI, renowned Korean artists, that add focal points to create a tranquil setting. By the way, if you want to see more works of Lee Jaehyo, you can take a look at our article dedicated to one of his exhibitions.
The structure from the tower above frames the glazing for the storefront to create a monumental colonnade, and high-performance glazing panels span horizontally between the columns. Internally, the finishes of the store extend out into the communal lobby spaces of the tower to provide expansive, flowing spaces encouraging circulation into the store over multiple levels.
At the upper level, the warm timber ceiling above creates a continuous horizontal surface that flows out into the lobby spaces. The upper floor incorporates the Forum, which cantilevers into the double-height atrium, creating an elevated gallery from which to view out to the city beyond. The adjacent Boardroom includes a bespoke light installation that incorporates Hanji paper reflectors. The two levels are connected via a staircase that winds around the elevator shaft which features graduated reflectivity to dematerialize over its height, creating a dynamic visitor experience.