MILAN — Prada is once again ready for a non-fashion design challenge.
The Italian company has teamed up with architect Rem Koolhaas for another standout project, called Transformer, which will be unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, next year. Transformer is a tetrahedron structure in lieu of a theater that will accommodate cultural, artistic and fashion events Prada is organizing. They are scheduled to take place in Seoul from March to July 2009.
The Transformer can be rotated on each side depending on the event, with four different facades and floor plate configurations, so that floors become walls and walls become the ceiling. Each of the four programs will function on unique steel-framed shapes: a hexagon, a cross, a rectangle and a circle.
“The Prada Transformer project will be our key communication platform in 2009,” said Patrizio Bertelli, the company chairman and chief executive officer of Prada. “The fact that we have selected Seoul to implement it is a recognition of the importance that we give to Asia, Korea particularly, because of its fast-growing pace both in the business and cultural areas.”
In addition to Koolhaas and the think tank of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Prada Transformer will be built with the support of LG Electronics, which also makes Prada’s portable phone; Hyundai Motor Co., and real estate developer Red Resource, whose international projects include the City of Irvine in California, in collaboration with the French fashion association. The Korean automaker is also developing “a special project” with Prada, but no details were provided by the companies.
In a striking contrast, the Transformer will be located next to the 16th century Kyunghee Palace.
Koolhaas has collaborated with Bertelli and his wife, Miuccia Prada, on a number of projects for years, ranging from the design of Prada’s San Francisco Epicenter store, to the new Fondazione Prada headquarters and gallery in Milan, slated to bow in 2011. Koolhaas said the “interesting thing about this building is the acknowledgement of the Transformer as a dynamic organism, opposed to simply a static object, which arbitrarily fits each program.”
The project is led by Koolhaas, associate Kunlé Adeyemi and design architect Alexander Reichert.
Prada isn’t the only global fashion house to link with a big name architect in an art project. The Transformer follows Chanel’s tie-up with Zaha Hadid in the design of the fashion house’s Mobile Art pavilion, which launched in Hong Kong, traveled to Tokyo and then to New York. The structure was inspired by Chanel’s iconic quilted handbag and will also travel to London, Paris and Moscow.