31 January 2019
The mission of the Dutch architectural practice founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries is to create happy spaces designed to bring a smile to the face and inspire fantastic adventures. Their latest work reflects this mantra to the letter: The Imprint is a fluid, chameleon-like project, a genuine architectural divertissement, which references and melds with the surrounding buildings in glorious, exuberant, eclectic style.
Completed as part of the Paradise City complex, an entertainment facility and artistic hub in the vicinity of Seoul’s international airport, The Imprint includes the Wonderbox covered theme park and a Nightclub, their facades imprinted (in relief, thanks to cutting edge 3D printing) with all the details, projections and indentations featured on the surrounding buildings. Its decorated and completely windowless elevations become two-dimensional drapes that distort and lift up from the ground in places. In so doing, they disclose highly coloured, kaleidoscopic interiors, a golden eye, a shimmering magma of reflective ceilings and underlit floors. The result is a brilliant mix of art and architecture. The effect is guaranteed wonder in the visitor’s eye.
According to Winy Maas the most interesting part of this project was that of its becoming an artwork in its own right. Abstract art, worthy of being painted by De Chirico, not cold but surprising, intriguing and seductive, before giving way to a feeling of peace and serenity.
The Nightclub’s golden eye is undoubtedly the most obvious and fascinating expressive element from this point of view, and is further emphasised by the night lighting system. While most of the facade is lit from below, this golden orb is lit from above, as though struck by a bright ray of sun. The entrance, like a half-raised theatre curtain, allows a glimpse of mirrored ceilings and glass floors, with an air of wanting to encourage the typical excited nightclub atmosphere to burst out into the open. “Reflection and theatricality are therefore combined. With our design, after the nightly escapades, a Zen-like silence follows during the day, providing an almost literally reflective situation,” says Maas. One can but agree with him that The Imprint constitutes a very real piece of “artchitecture.”