Client : Gana Art Gallery
Architect : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Local architect : Total Design
Area : 3,024 m²
Construction of a contemporary art gallery, interior fit-out, and museum exhibition design.
Pyung Chang Dong is a primarily residential, and very hilly suburban district of Seoul. The Gana gallery chose this exceptionally well-exposed site on a very steep slope to install, in a new building, a space entirely dedicated to contemporary art. It would also make significant references to Korea's artistic past.
The “Gana Art Centre” needed to fit into an urban fabric where large installations and buildings are absent and, at the same time, serve the Gana gallery as a prestigious tool providing permanent and temporary exhibition halls, places for private exhibitions, cafeteria, library, conference room, offices, and also sculpture garden, outdoor theatre, etc. The project was developed on three main levels in two distinct nuclei: on one side they form the wall of the open-air theatre, on the other they follow the tiered seating by means of an aerial footbridge. The first entity is open to the public; the second is private. Concern to make best use of the natural slope of the ground and the magnificent view that the site enjoys was a constant during the project development process.
The architectural design presents a contrast between the lightness of the reception and restaurant areas, which is very glassy but also very warm thanks to the use of tropical wood sunscreens, and the solid, durable aspect of the art exhibition spaces. These are very distinctive within the space, and presented as monolithic blocks of white, etched Italian stone, the colour of which marries particularly well with the landscape and Korean light. These sharp-edged blocks are lifted from the ground and appear as though laid on a bed of thin wooden lines.
In the interior, volumes and layouts have been designed throughout to accommodate works from all periods: thus the cafeteria, very bright, is designed to offer constantly renewed perspectives onto ancient Korean sculptures and create an intimate and contemplative atmosphere. Here the works establish, in a sense, the roots of the contemporary works exhibited and sold throughout the gallery.
In the exhibition areas, maximum neutrality was sought, and the lighting was made to be as modular and adaptable as possible. A room was built especially to accommodate works by Picasso, and the windows were designed to highlight the works with the utmost unobtrusiveness.