Façade design, Gangnam style 09

Citi
In what could be dubbed ‘the Champs-Élysées’ of South Korea, Citibank set about to tailor an experience that would complement its surrounding and suit its clientele.

Cheongdam Fashion Street

Deep in the heart of South Korea’s glamourous Cheongdamdong, part of Seoul’s famous Gangnam precinct; lies a small stretch of road, barely a kilometre in length. The road plays host to some of South Korea’s K-Pop sensations and social elite as a mecca for beauty, shopping and socialising.

Dubbed ‘Cheongdam Fashion Street’ the little stretch of road is home to a set of stunningly designed freestanding outlets. All home to some of the most luxurious brand in the world: Ermenegildo Zegna, Prada, Burberry and Vera Wang to name a few.

Spotted in between the growing density of these clever, bold and outstanding designs are small reminders of the street it used to be. One of simple buildings, simple businesses and unassuming commerce. Not anymore.

Bold ideas

Nestled among these monoliths was a little building owned by Citibank. An old one, built of brown brick, that sat apologetically recessed from its road of fashion royalty. Citibank, making a concerted effort to expand and cater for Cheongdam’s wealthy young professionals, saw passed this little brown building to the opportunity it presented them and their brand.

Bold visions carry bold ideas, and this was no exception. The idea was to build a freestanding outlet for Citibank customers that reflected the style and elegance of the street while welcoming and inviting new customers to enter and explore their opportunities to bank with Citibank.

The outlet would need to embody the style and sophistication of not one or two, but the collection, a whole street of the world’s fashion elite with their clean lines, minimalist design and lovingly crafted branding. How could, or how would, a global bank sit comfortably among the strength and design of street collectively.

A stand-out façade

Diadem was engaged to assist Citibank with their façade design. A design that would complement the surrounds and give the bank a position on the street that would attract and build positive preference with the passers-by. Working with Citibank’s local, regional and global stakeholders to ensure the best stewardship of the Citibank brand, the designs were conceptualised to blend with its competitive context.

The design would accentuate height of building using vertical lines. Stone and patterning continue from roof to the pavement to visually ‘extend’ the height of the building. The level five architectural footprint is reimagined as design detail in a grid pattern to building embellished with vertical blades across the entire façade.

Each blade varies in dimension, set in and out from the façade in an alternate grid pattern to the footprint underneath; creating movement, interested and a bold, striking façade when lit up that draws the eye to the brand above.

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