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BOONTHESHOP has a new 27,000-square-foot flagship in Seoul, designed by Peter Marino. BOONTHESHOP is a top address in the South Korean Fashion scene. Since its foundation in 2000, the growth curve has been going up steeply. This Korean clothes brand has specialised in the premium male segment of the 50 million inhabitant country. The concept mixes commercial brands with young, relatively unknown designers.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-02-Yunsuk-Shim-800x1200 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Yunsuk Shim

The building’s terrace is in a stairway form which is built considering the legal restriction of general residential areas. It is in a setback, diagonally slanted form with white marble outer wall, showing its dynamic and various shapes from different angles. Natural lighting is brought into the building which is hard to consider in existing commercial facilities. Also, shops, terrace and garden, exhibition, cafes, restaurants are made through the connecting passageway to provide a resting place for the customers after shopping.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-05-HAEAHN-Architecture-759x354 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© HAEAHN Architecture

The store consists of two angular, white marble buildings, one with 16,000 square feet of space and the other with 11,000 square feet, connected by glass bridges and situated on one of the country’s tallest mountains. Crinkled silver, which covers the valet parking area, looks like gold when it reflects the sun, Marino said. “It’s as shocking, when compared to traditional Korean buildings, as the Guggenheim Museum was when it opened in 1959 on Fifth Avenue,” the architect added, referring to the spiral structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Boontheshop buildings’ square footage excludes the restaurants and executive offices Marino built above the store.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-06-Peter-Marino-759x512 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Peter Marino

Marino is known for designing the global flagships of luxury brands such as Chanel, Céline, Dior and Ermenegildo Zegna in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Marino’s business in China “kept me from going bankrupt during the recession,” he said. But the Chinese, who hold the title of the biggest luxury shoppers in the world, have reined in their spending. For the first time, the growth of the luxury market fell into negative territory to minus 1 percent, according to Bain & Co.’s 2014 annual global luxury study.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-07-Peter-Marino-759x966 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Peter Marino

“All the brands are coming here,” Marino said of Korea. “I have a commission to build a new Chanel [flagship] in South Korea.” The average household net-adjusted disposable income in Korea is $18,035 a year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Better Life Index, and the richest 20 percent of the population earns almost six times as much as the bottom 20 percent. Seoul, South Korea’s capital, has a population of more than 20 million people.

It’s the top 20 percent that Boontheshop is targeting with a long list of designers. Launched in 2000, Boontheshop and Boontheshop men’s stores are located in Cheongdam in Seoul’s luxury district. Boontheshop, which calls itself “a niche for fashionistas who allow no compromise of standards for any vulgar demands of the passing fad,” is owned by Korean department store company Shinsegae, which features Boontheshop in-store boutiques at three locations.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-08-Yunsuk-Shim-749x1000 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Yunsuk Shim

BOONTHESHOP boasts an impressive array of fresh, attractive international brands with unique designs. It is a perfect place for visitors looking for luxurious brands that differ from better known brands. It houses clothing items created by both famous and young designers. Focusing on people from their twenties to forties, BOONTHESHOP has become a popular shopping spot among fashion leaders.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-09-Yunsuk-Shim-759x569 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Yunsuk Shim

Peter Marino Architect:

The flagship for Seoul-based women’s specialty store Boontheshop comprises 55,000 sq ft spread over seven floors and through its development in response to the challenging constraints of the site has become something of an icon. Located in the prominent retail district of Cheongdam, largely characterized by its dense cacophophy of architectural styles, the developed project of an austere massing comprising two polished angular volumes in white marble serves as a powerful, calming statement.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-10-Yunsuk-Shim-800x1200 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Yunsuk Shim

The corner location, legally divided into two separate parcels with its principal side facing west is sited on a steep hillside, which while possessing great potential also provides serious challenges. Site access is via a primary approach from the north leading up a steep grade along the narrow Apgujeong-ro (boulevard), a sharply inclined access from the west and south or via a precipitous downgrade from the east.

These approaches all provide considerable obstructions to the site and the building is seen at first in partiality, the slivers of polished facade functioning as a beacon for the approaching clientele and establishing a sharp contrast between the building and its surroundings.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-11-Peter-Marino-759x896 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Peter Marino

Priority was placed upon potential improvements in the pedestrian experience as the densely urban district was previously sadly lacking in landscaped areas and footpaths. Driven by setback requirements along the primary façade of Apgujeong-ro relief was offered to the congested and narrow streets and this space was consciously used to create a series of micro plazas at street level providing four entry points and maximizing connectivity to the neighborhood.

Legally the structure consists of two buildings on adjacent, adjoining sites with limitations placed upon permitted connections above and below grade. To support a sense of connectivity and promote the impression of a singular form, two aligning glass bridges were developed and while situated to create continuity along the street frontage, they also offer an intimate retreat in the sunken courtyard, which remains concealed and embedded within the building.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-04-HAEAHN-Architecture-759x354 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© HAEAHN Architecture

The city of Seoul stipulated the individual sites’ complex solar setback requirements, impacting the initial massing of the structures. Instead of approaching these challenging constraints as obstacles to the design they were taken as opportunities to inform the sculptural nature of the building. Terraces on higher levels provide green space within the heart of urban Seoul and benefit from spectacular views of the city and Han River.

The interior concept was developed both in response to the dual nature of the projected clientele (young and upcoming or mature and established) and the duality of the inherited site. Thus, sites A and B (north and south respectively) were developed with interiors very much aligned to the projected customer base, one more raw and urban and the other more polished and refined.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-12-HAEAHN-Architecture-759x354 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© HAEAHN Architecture

Aesthetically, the challenge was to establish a new visual vocabulary for a brand which represents the highest level of innovation in fashion, design and art. Within the two freestanding structures are seven above grade levels: 3 floors of multi-brand luxury retail, a café, a private club, a cultural center, a roof top restaurant and terraces. The basement levels include a double height gallery and exhibition space along with the valet parking very much expected in Seoul society.

Due to the building’s exposure towards the west, window openings were composed and oriented with special consideration to control daylighting and minimize thermal gain. Consequently along the west façade a minimum number of openings have been utilized and all are deeply set within the stone for shading. Furthermore, within these deep set openings the glazing is angled towards the north to minimize direct solar gain.

The majority of daylighting occurs primarily through monumental north facing glazing which includes substantial openings onto the lush courtyard as well as a staggering triple height opening which serves as a window into the store for the approaching traffic from the main shopping avenue to the north. The use of a reflective coating for the connecting bridge curtain wall further reduces heat gain. The exterior cladding materials all have extremely high albedos: polished white marble and stamped, mirror polished stainless steel panels.

BOONTHESHOP-By-Peter-Marino-Architect-13-Yunsuk-Shim-759x316 BOONTHESHOP / Peter Marino Architect

© Yunsuk Shim

Project Data:

Project name: BOONTHESHOP
Location: 21 Apgujeong ro 60 Gil Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea
Coordinates: 37.525724, 127.041920
Type: Shop / Store / Showroom / Retail
Project Area: 55,000 sq.ft / 4,550 sqm
Design Year: 2013
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2014
Visit BOONTHESHOP’s website: here


  • 2015 – Interior Design Magazine Award – Best of Year Awards – Category: Projects > Fashion Retail – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Jooun UM
Architects: Peter Marino Architect – 150 E 58th St #36, New York, NY 10155, United States
Local Architects Collaborators: HAEAHN Architecture – 650-3 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Project Team:

  • Darren Nolan, Brien Anderson, Seung Jae Lee, Hassoun Molavi, Michael Romano, Anne Timerman, Paola Pretto Tom Greenwood, James Sweeney, Ed Benedict, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Amy Raiter


  • Structural: The Naeun Structural Engineering Co. Ltd.
  • Civil: Saegil Engineering & Consulting Co. Ltd.
  • Mechanical: Hankil Engineering & Consultant
  • Electrical & Telecommunication: Samoo TEC


  • Facade: Heintges & Associates
  • Lighting: Schwinghammer Lighting, LLC
  • Cost Estimator: Hyundai Estimate Engineering Co. Ltd.
  • General Contractor: Shinsegae Engineering & Construction
  • Façade Consultant: J&S Hanbaek Ltd
  • Landscape Architect: Haeahn Architecture, Be-Oh Engineering & Consultant
  • Lighting Design: Huel Lighting Design
  • Specifications: HAEAHN Architecture

Text Description: © Courtesy of Peter Marino Architect, HAEAHN Architecture
Images: © Peter Marino Architect, Yunsuk Shim, Peter Marino


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