Hanwha Stores Co’s Chameleon-like Facade
Rogier van der Heide – Arup Lighting – Hyperreality in the urban context
He discussed the question “Who are we building these facades for?” and talked about the process of design and manufacture of one of his best known pieces of work, as the lead designer for Arups on the Galleria facde in Seoul. The windowless Galleria West mall used to be a drab, understated presence in the Apgujeong-dong district, one of Seoul’s most exclusive shopping areas. The client, Hanwha Stores Co, wanted to turn it into a landmark building that would reflect the exclusive boutiques within its walls.
UN Studio and Arup Lighting were brought on board to recreate the mall’s exterior, with additional support from Arup’s structural engineers. Together they developed a chameleon-like facade that reflects the subtleties of natural light on opalescent, dichroic glass discs during the day. At night the discs are individually backlit and controlled by a computer program to create colour schemes all over the building – each disc acting like a big pixel on a screen.
Rogier van der Heide went through various stages of modelling the facade, begining with very simply with cardboard, fibre optics, gels, and colour filters, followed by more sophisticated technologies and analysis, plus input from fellow design team members. 4330 discs, each 850mm in diameter, make up the entire facade of the mall.