Hyundai Department Store, Daegu City, South Korea
Thursday 10 Jan 2013


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Following more than three years of design and construction, the highly-anticipated, 53,000-SM, 11-story Hyundai Department Store opened last August in Daegu City, South Korea, making it the largest department store for both the brand and the south-east region of the country. The new location brought in record profits of $5 million on opening day and $15 million over its first five days, due in no small part to the store's distinctive architecture and interiors that are a departure for the brand.

Hyundai had a tried and true department store model with established demographics, but the company reached out to RTKL to update its traditional approach. Through its scope of architectural concepts and schematics, full service interiors and environmental graphics, the designers took this opportunity to broaden the brand's appeal for a larger audience and an increased youth/young adult fashion component. The result was a strategy to shift the department store's standard design from high-end classic to luxury modern, from a place to a destination, and from product-oriented to people-oriented.

The design solution incorporated the idea of "shifting" by creating two different architectural façades-a formal, traditional stone base and an animated, overlapping glass feature wall with a built-in LED system. The same "H" graphic pattern on the exterior can be found throughout the project's lounges, customer service centres, and signage concept, where it is used to form dimensional armatures and brackets. Feature designs that celebrate arrival or transition designate significant points of entry or circulation.

Previously, Hyundai had one overall interior look and feel, but RTKL's strategy created distinctly different customer experiences throughout the project, endeavouring to form a different atmosphere and character for each department. Each district was inspired by a personality type-the youth and young adult fashion departments were based on a "Rock Star" and have a fresh, slightly edgy energy that is very much in line with South Korea's trendy, young population; the luxury goods area suggests a "First Lady" with its light, bright environment that conveys an established, upmarket ambiance consistent with Hyundai's traditional customer base. The men's fashion section was inspired by a "Secret Agent" and the home goods department evokes the spirit of a trend-setting home-maker, reminiscent of Martha Stewart. Additionally, the brand operates its own individual stores within the larger department store and the designers worked with the merchandise team to create an aesthetic scheme for these specialized areas that include a Denim Bar, a gourmet grocer, and men's accessories.

The team also enhanced the overall experience with customer service lounges, cooking school and classroom facilities, a roof-top park, a 600-seat auditorium, an art gallery, and a level dedicated to dining, creating amenities and services for the residents of Daegu City. The two striking architectural façades make the building an icon in the city while the overall design has made it one of the most popular stores in the region and an even bigger draw for visitors.

RTKL Associates Inc. / KlingStubbins: A Joint Venture