JHP to put luxury spin on Hyundai’s flagship store

Hyundai’s luxury department store in Seoul is to undergo a lavish redesign and rebrand by UK consultancy JHP.

The Korean motor and retail giant appointed the consultancy in March, following a five-way paid competition in which it beat two US design groups,

a Japanese and an Italian consultancy. JHP is mid-way through the planning stage of the project, which culminates in early 2010 with the completion of the store.

The consultancy is tasked with remodelling the 56 000m2 store’s interior and exterior. The group is also rebranding the store and creating a new communications strategy.

‘In a nutshell, Hyundai briefed us to create the world’s ultimate luxury lifestyle experience – the best department store in the world,’ says JHP joint managing director Steve Collis.

The seven-storey shop will feature a roof garden, a glass-domed restaurant level, exhibition spaces and a spiral escalator. JHP is designing an extension that will increase the size of the store by 10 per cent. The store’s exterior will be clad in aluminium.

‘Currently the store has a pleasant granite façade, but it doesn’t evoke luxury or possess the instantly recognisable identity that Harrods has,’ says Collis.

’We are going to envelop the building in a thin aluminium cladding that will be reflective during the day, but at night will be lit to allow the ghostly outline of the old building to shine through.’

Collis is concerned that the food hall must exceed the high standards of other Korean department stores’ food halls. ‘We are quite good at doing food environments, but they are so good at it in Korea.

We are approaching it as high fashion, using low-level ambient lighting and spots to pick out products.’

• Hyundai means ‘modern’ or ‘of today’
• Founded in 1947, Hyundai built its business on reconstruction after World War II, later expanding into shipbuilding, global logistics and car manufacturing
• It started a retail business in 1971 and in 1985 opened the flagship Hyundai department store in Apgujeong street, sometimes called ‘the Knightsbridge’ of Seoul

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