All Systems Go for Koolhaas' Prada Transformer
Chanel may have just pulled the plug (as we reported last month) on its Zaha Hadid-designed Mobile Art Pavilion, but Prada is going ahead with plans for an even more ambitious project. Despite the economy, the luxury Italian fashion house just began construction on the Prada Transformer, a tetrahedron-shaped "transformative building" designed by starchitect Rem Koolhaas (rendering above), on the grounds of Gyeonghui Palace in Seoul, Korea. Koolhaas, who won the Pritzker Prize in 2000 and also designed the Prada flagship store in Manhattan, describes the building as a "dynamic and living organism'' because it transforms itself into different structures to suit various events. The location of the project, the single largest communications platform for the Prada group worldwide in 2009, speaks to the importance of the Asian market in a depressed luxury goods environment.
Scheduled to open at the end of March, the Prada Transformer will stage a range of art, cinema, culture and fashion events though August. the 65-ft. high tetrahedron is composed of four different shapes, a hexagon, cross, rectangle and circle. "Once a month, cranes will lift and rotate the structure into a different facade and floor plate configuration," the Korea Times reports. "When rotated, each side will be the venue of a different cultural program." On the outside, the entire structure will be wrapped with an elastic translucent membrane. Prada partnered with LG Electronics (makers of the Prada cell phone) and the Hyundai Motor Company on the ambitious scheme, which if successful will probably travel to other cities as well.