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The site for PAPYRUS, the premier luxury eyewear retailer in South Korea, in the Lotte Avenuel Department Store was one that used to be a service area. In an arena of luxury brands each competing for attention, this factor was a significant disadvantage as we sought to express the identity of PAPYRUS and find means to allow convenient access to potential customers. However, this limitation intrigued and motivated us to imagine novel possibilities. It was indeed a journey into the unknown.

We decided to stay true to the purpose; a retail space that needs to generate profit while expressing the values of PAPYRUS. Moreover, we intended to present the deep comprehension for eyewear that PAPYRUS has and create a comfortable shopping experience for the customers.

We then developed our ideas though the research on the department’s clientele. The research concluded that the clientele, with a conservative consumer preference, preferred familiar spaces and trustworthy employees. Thus, we chose the ‘Salon’ as our concept for its cultural and social nature. And thought a unique reinterpretation, the Papyrus de Salon with its restraint design and modern atmosphere was born.

The site, due to its formal use as a service area, possessed a unique parameter with a long and narrow corridor leading to main retail area. This causes the customers to unconsciously overlook a large portion of the site as well as making it arduous for the employees to directly interact with the customers. To resolve this, we inserted an interval in the corridor with a small waiting room breaking the flow of the space. The arch shaped extrusions of the wall panels were also designed to further the effect of the interval.

We also considered the fact that we have a window, an element that is usually avoided in department stores due to it being an indicator of time, as an advantage and decided to maintain it. This decision came from our confident judgment that the experience of traversing deep into the store, to the drawing room of the salon, and seeing the view of the city would be one that is memorable. In the end, the various spatial limitations of the site became the foundation of our ideas and concepts.

Designed and construction by Kyoung Kim, Taegyun Kim / Atelier.Archi@Mosphere
Photography by Seulki Ki

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