MVRDV clads leisure complex with golden façades and imprints of surrounding structures

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MVRDV has completed a new two-building arts and entertainment complex, located in close proximity to seoul’s incheon airport. dubbed ‘the imprint’, the development contains a nightclub in one building, while the other accommodates an indoor theme park. the windowless structures are defined by three key characteristics: imprinted façades, lifted entrances, and, perhaps most eye-catchingly, a golden entrance covering one corner of the nightclub building.

the two structures form part of seoul’s ‘paradise city’ complex, which comprises a total of six buildings. once complete, the development will provide a full suite of entertainment and hotel attractions less than a kilometer away from south korea’s largest airport. the client asked MVRDV for a design that featured no windows, but still felt integrated within its urban setting. in response, the architects referenced the elevations of the neighboring structures — either by draping them over the new buildings like a shadow, or by imprinting them as relief patterns on the new façades.

to achieve the desired ‘imprint’, the structures have been constructed from glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels. as many of the 3,869 panels are unique, the construction required molds to be individually produced using MVRDV’s 3D modeling files from the design phase. once installed, these panels were painted white in order to emphasize the relief in the design.

‘by placing, as it were, surrounding buildings into the facades of our buildings and in the central plaza, we connect the imprint with the neighbors,’ says winy maas, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. ‘this ensures coherence. paradise city is not a collection of individual objects such as las vegas, but a real city. two months ago most of the cladding was done and client said, ‘this is an art piece.’ what is interesting about that is that they are looking for that momentum — that entertainment can become art or that the building can become artistic in that way. what, then, is the difference between architecture an art? the project plays with that and I think that abstraction is part of it, but it has to surprise, seduce and it has to calm down.’

the entrances, where the façades are lifted like a curtain to reveal mirrored ceilings and glass media floors, exude a sense of the excitement happening inside. ‘reflection and theatricality are therefore combined,’ maas continues. ‘with our design, after the nightly escapades, a zen-like silence follows during the day, providing an almost literally reflective situation for the after parties. giorgio de chirico would have liked to paint it, I think.’ see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

MVRDV clads leisure complex with golden façades and imprints of surrounding structures