MVRDV Completes Surreal Entertainment Hub in Seoul

Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV has completed two arts and entertainment buildings less than a kilometre from Seoul’s Incheon Airport.

The 9,800sq m development is part of the larger "Paradise City" complex, a six-building tourist hub.

The dual structures, known as The Imprint, contains a nightclub in one building, while the other accommodates an indoor theme park.

The Imprint’s name comes from the 3D printing used to create the over 3,800 panels in glass-fibre reinforced concrete needed to cover its facade.

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MVRDV Seoul airport
The entrances reveal mirrored ceilings and glass media floors.Image: Ossip van Duivenbode

The sibling buildings, individually known as the Wonderbox and Nightclub, share an optical illusion-like architecture via warped exteriors, windowless facades and lifted entrance areas.

The architect opted for opaque buildings to reflect their surroundings by imprinting concrete with the design of the neighbouring buildings.

“By placing, as it were, surrounding buildings into the facades of our buildings and in the central plaza, we connect The Imprint with the neighbours,” MVRDV principal and co-founder Winy Maas said.

“This ensures coherence. Paradise City is not a collection of individual objects such as Las Vegas, but a real city.”

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MVRDV Seoul airport
Features from the surrounding structures are projected and imprinted onto the new buildings.Image: Ossip van Duivenbode

The architect likened the Imprint's surrealistic design to those of Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico.

“Reflection and theatricality are therefore combined,” Mass said.

“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.”

MVRDV worked in collaboration with the Korean Studio GANSAM Architects and Partners on the development.

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