BY DAVID BASULTO
(founder and editor-in-chief of the website ArchDaily)
A passion for horticulture has always been evident in the designs of Christian Dior, from the French house's first collection in 1947 - titled "Corolle," a reference to a flower's petals - to Raf Simons's latest floral-infused collection unveiled at the Musée Rodin's pointillist greenhouse. At Dior's newest boutique, in Seoul, this legacy has been reinforced once again. Like a giant flower in the middle of the city's Gangnam District, French Pritzker Price-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc's design features 12 organically shaped, petal-like panels, draped around a six-story-tall structure. Within its walls one finds retail and exhibition spaces, a VIP lounge, and a café under the direction of pastry maestro Pierre Hermé. The interiors, designed by longtime Dior collaborator Peter Marina, display an elegant selection of materials and feature a suspended sculpture by Korean artist Lee Bul. Also inside: Véronique Rivemale table lamps, branch-shaped Claude Lalanne benches, and furniture by artists Hubert le Gall and Hélène de Saint Lager. Connecting the space is a striking spiral staircase that's part of an immersive installation that features an animation by digital artist Oyoram. Just as Dior's fashion continues to blossom, so does its architecture.