Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rem Koolhaas on Seoul and Prada Transformer (CNN)

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas was recently Interviewed on CNN Talk Asia in front of his Prada Transformer, an advertocultural event which has at least the advantage to make more people visit Gyeonghuigung. Most Gangnam hypists won't even notice the presence of the royal palace, but many Seoulites will (re)discover the area and who knows, some may even pay a visit to Seoul Museum of History next door (and paying a visit doesn't cost much : you can enjoy many exhibitions for free or just a few hundred wons).

Koolhaas chose the location with taste : Joseon rulers themselves picked a perfect spot with Inwangsan in the background. Note that for his Seoul National University Museum of Art, the Pritzker Prize winner already enjoyed good vibes from Gwanaksan. But if the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art offers an interesting view from Itaewon heights, there's not enough room around the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center Koolhaas designed to appreciate it from a distance. Both buildings are less striking than this Transformer anyway.

What you have here is basically a tetrahedron with one circular face, its metallic structure poking under a light white skin. Not as light as the contents though : an alibi to justify the design and architectural bravado, and to leave some room for the sponsor. Cranes turn the pyramid in various positions, each one hosting a specific event.

The 3 parts of the interview :

Part 1 - "Living differently" (around 1'40" - 2' into the video, the construction of Transformer, with Inwangsan and Gwanghwamun Space Bon in the background)

Part 2 - "Staying relevant"

Part 3 - "Seoul Man" (SNU Museum of Art...) :

Seoul Village 2009

see also OMA's website : (Office for Metropolitan Architecture founded by Rem Koolhaas)

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