05. May 2010

Star City in Seoul/ROK
Watercolors of Light

Text: Amber Ga Young Lee
Photos: Sun Namgoong

When living in a metropolis like Seoul urban scenarios, tangled with the frantic nature of a densely populated city, car-packed streets and monstrous sky-scrapers, are almost a cliché. The chaos of the city hardly allows its dwellers to step out from the crazy whirl of urban life to look around and enjoy their surroundings. But here, within a forest of towers, Korean lighting design practice Eon SLD together with the Uchihara Lighting Design Group from Japan have made an attempt to turn plain, dull facades into a vibrant gallery, inviting visitors to feel the sky, the earth and the sea, painted on the gigantic walls of a building.

The approach is very poetic, but the medium is clearly modern: light. Be ready to be surprised! Just like in any other big city, the most exciting part of living in Seoul is having a ‘street life’. That means many of its residents spend time walking around the city and are therefore able to experience the city at a more personal level. The joy of exploring undiscovered streets, unexpectedly spotting a cute café perfect for a late Sunday morning brunch, or finding a great piece of art around the corner of an unfamiliar alley way, is all part of the pleasant surprises of urban life that Seoul offers. When the experience is unpredicted, the value doubles, of course. This is exactly what Korean lighting design practice Eon SLD in cooperation with Uchihara Lighting Design from Japan aimed to achieve when designing the commercial district of the Star City project in Seoul, Korea. Star City, located in Gwangjin Gu, one of the busiest quarters of Seoul, is a mammoth, mixed-use area com-posed of both residential and commercial buildings. The complex consists of four different types of architecture: high-rise residential towers and two relatively small-scale commercial structures. The site covers an area of approximately 85,761 square meters, resulting in a building area of 32,449 square meters. Initially, the purpose of the planning was to create a one-stop complex which would help solve the city’s chronic traffic congestion in the area. Therefore, this enormous complex houses nearly everything one would ask for in a residence, from stores with basic commodities to high-end department store selling luxury goods. The complex holds 1752apartment units in the residential towers and more than100 tenants in the commercial part of the buildings, including a cutting-edge movie theatre, a supermarket and a huge department store. The planning and design took more than three years from 2003 to 2007 and the construction was finally finished last year, in 2009. […]
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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 71

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