With a ground floor measuring 150,000 sq ft and a further 10 floors above it, the new Shinsegae department store, in Seoul’s affluent Uijeongbu district, is massive by any standards.
And like many Far Eastern stores of the kind, it is built above a major railway intersection, ensuring a steady flow of shoppers.
Yet while the size of this enterprise is certainly impressive, it is the manner in which JHP, the London consultancy that designed the store, has linked the many levels while giving character to each that makes this one worth a visit. This has been achieved thanks to an illuminated chequerboard pattern on the wall next to the escalators and, while it varies in size and configuration from floor to floor, it does serve to provide continuity across the store.
There are also a number of key features that ensure that interest levels do not flag as progress is made through the store. Among these, the profiled timber ceiling for the deli stands out as it contrasts strongly with the clean lines of the ceiling for the surrounding luxury brands. The young fashion department, by contrast, is like a deconstructed warehouse with industrial structures and artificial roof lights, while the restaurant complex on the ninth floor includes a central piazza for al fresco dining.
The strapline ‘Uijeongbu is my Shinsegae’, developed prior to work on the store starting, was concerned with giving a huge store a sense of belonging to the people in the area – a difficult feat in any location, particularly when the scale is considered. Shinsegae has a number of stores in downtown Seoul, but in keeping with the retailer’s policy, this latest branch is its most show-stopping. It opened in April.