Body and Soul

My Boon’s lifestyle concept store helps world-weary travelers recharge and refresh in Seoul
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Posted April 8, 2013

When South Korean retail conglomerate Shinsegae Intl. (Seoul) decided to expand its Boon the Shop fashion brand with a new concept called My Boon, the emphasis was less on what the store would stock than how to attract a tiny, globe-trotting group of youngish shoppers.

“The clients here are the design cognoscenti of the world, whether they are from Seoul or from Tokyo, Paris, New York, Rio, Moscow and London,” says Stephan Jaklitsch, principal of Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects (New York). “It’s the same 3 percent who travel the world and have more in common with each other than with their own countrymen and women.” The store is located Seoul’s trendy Gangnam neighborhood, which is known for its vast wealth, commercial culture and, yes, the smash-hit pop single “Gangnam Style.”

Jaklitsch was charged with interpreting the tagline “my style, my body, my soul,” conceived of by My Boon creative director Milan Vukmirovic, who was hired to curate products ranging from apparel to accessories to health-food items. He’s known for his work on The Webster (Miami) and Colette (Paris) and concept stores, as well as Italy’s popular Trussardi fashion house.

Designed as a place where the overscheduled can step back from everyday stresses to marvel at a one-of-a-kind watch, sip a healthful drink or re-imagine their personal style with shoes or a purse, the store is divided into three zones unified by a simple palette: wood, end-grain flooring; polished, stainless-steel shelving; hard-troweled concrete walls; a louvered, natural wood ceiling; and rough-sawn wood.

In the first zone, a theatric cashwrap draws accessories shoppers toward black, compressed-paper countertops and display vitrines. A glowing, pink neon sign adds a flash of color and warmth.

The second destination is devoted to fashion, with mannequins posed languidly on “mountains” of industrial concrete planking that break up the space and, Jaklitsch says, “impart a relaxed, casual atmosphere.”

A crisp juice bar and café offers shoppers a place to relax, read a magazine and socialize. White Carrara marble counters impart healthful energy, while ever-changing grocery and cosmetics items add contrast against a warm, wood-paneled wall. Above, a light fixture surrounded by gradient glass suspended from the ceiling adds intimacy, inviting shoppers to linger.

While the juice bar is a nod to the store’s mission to rejuvenate and refresh, it’s also a marketing move, according to Jae Choi, Shinsegae’s merchandising manager. “Our concept for the store is to take care of each person’s style, body and soul,” he says. It doesn’t hurt that the store is located in the same building as a state-of-the-art health clinic, which attracts health-minded consumers.

To draw together the spaces for apparel, accessories, and food and beverage, Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects stretched playful, powdercoated metal bands from floor to ceiling along two facades. Near the café and juice bar, the bands help shade against the sun and comply with regulations requiring external glass walls to be left untouched. A second set of metal bands fronts a giant, pulsing LED screen near fashion and apparel offerings, and is visible to passersby on the nearby boulevard. This wall adds a common element – and a sense of place, by blocking some external views – along with a splash of color to enliven the store’s neutral palette.

Designed as a stopping point for seen-it-all world travelers and locals alike, the store’s carefully cultivated blend of product for health, fashion and intrigue invites rare moments of curiosity and wonder. For those who make the trip, My Boon’s ever-shifting offering and uncluttered, careful set-up make for a store designed to delight – and de-stress.

Project Suppliers
Retailer
Shinsegae Co. Ltd., Seoul

Design
Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects PC, New York
Shinsegae Co. Ltd., Seoul

Architecture
Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects PC, New York

Design Consultant & General Contractor
Kukbo Design, Seoul

Lighting Design
Illumination Works, London

Fixtures
Kaswell Flooring Systems, Farmingham, Mass.

Furniture
Vitra, Birsfelden, Switzerland

Wallcoverings and Materials
Get Real Surfaces, New York
Klip Bio Technologies, Puyallup, Wash.
Mitsubishi Materials, Tokyo

General Contractor
Kukbo Design, Seoul