Transformer Building – Prada – Rem Koolhaas
When the groundbreaking Prada store by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas opened in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 2001, the concept of retail design was forever changed. Now, less than a decade later, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect and the Italian fashion house have done it again with the Transformer, a shape-shifting event structure in Seoul, South Korea that will accommodate art, cinema, and style events for the brand.
The pavilion combines the four sides of a tetrahedron: hexagon, cross, rectangle, and circle into one structure. Covered with a smooth elastic membrane, the steel-framed building can be flipped and rotated using cranes, reconfiguring the structure into one of its four different faÃ§ade and floor-plate configurations to complement the nature of a given event.
“The interesting thing about this building is the acknowledgement of the Transformer as a dynamic organism, opposed to simply a static object, which arbitrarily fits program,” says Koolhaas. “Prada Transformer helps add an extra dimension regarding the treatment of this typology by allowing it to be molded in real time, depending on the specific programs it intends to facilitate inside.
Located in Seoul’s 16th-century Kyeonghee Palace, the Transformer opened on April 25 with “Waist Down,” an inaugural exhibition featuring the skirt designs of the label’s doyenne, Miuccia Prada, that will run through May 24.