Van Cleef & Arpels’ swanky new boutique is a landscaped wonderland of nature and treasures.
The French maison adopts the dynamic Cheongdam-dong district as its new home in Korea – with a five-level boutique in an avant-garde building designed by the Jouin Manku Agency. This prestigious location joins Paris, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong in the inner circle of iconic Van Cleef & Arpels addresses.
Resembling giant reeds woven in a lozenge pattern, which is a hallmark of Van Cleef & Arpels, the openwork facade blends traditional Korean craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology in its construction materials of a light and resistant metallic alloy and green ceramic.
A luscious garden, which is a nod to the seven mountains encircling the city, begins on the first floor and extends to the rest of the levels as a living backdrop. Designed in collaboration with world-renowned Korean landscape architect Seo Ahn, it changes with the seasons and complements deliberately understated furnishings. A staircase leads to a private, intimate triple-height mezzanine space, which offers a calm and contemplative ambience.
On the second floor is the retail area, whose walls and ceiling call attention to another iconic example of Korean craftsmanship: hanji, the exacting art of hand-crafted paper unique for its refined textural effects. A second private salon here comes complete with a library showcasing a collection of richly illustrated books.
The next floor is dedicated to the house’s heritage and will host a variety of exhibitions and activities, while the final two storeys comprise two exclusive settings: a private salon and a terrace – both surrounded by lush nature and offering panoramic views of the city.
Transcending the notion of a boutique, said designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, was their creative vision: “We imagined a place where two distinct worlds would mix and mingle: an elegant interface between Korean culture and that of the Parisian high jewellery maison.”
This story first appeared in the Sep 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.