Seoul, Republic of South Korea

With over 20 brands, Korea’s largest cosmetics company Amorepacific develops beauty products that combine traditional knowledge with pioneering technical development. The company is devoted to ethical product development, environmental protection and social contribution. Their impressive new headquarters in Seoul, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, represents the company’s ambition and creativity and opened in June 2018. Inspired by traditional Korean architecture, the design is characterised by an intimate yet open layout that provides subtle transitions between outside and inside and stimulates the well-being of employees. Three large openings in the façade accommodate elevated gardens, bringing nature into the building and creating spectacular views of the city, the nearby park and the distant mountains. With 30 floors, 7 of which are underground, and a total surface of 216,000m2, the building provides room for 7000 employees. The lower levels host cultural spaces, including a museum, a library and cafés, which are open to the public. On the 5th floor, staff members have access to a cafeteria, a gym, a lounge and massage room at their disposal. The offices and workspaces are situated on the floors above this. The interior has been furnished throughout with Vitra products; whereas the employees previously worked in cubicles, they are now housed in an open office structured by the microarchitecture of Vitra’s Kado System.
David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin
Interior architecture
David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin

In what ways do the architecture and the office layout of the new headquarters reflect your brand identity?

At the onset of the new headquarters project, we wanted to infuse our company values and culture, among which the most important is openness, into the space. As a cosmetics company, we also wanted it to represent the concept of beauty that lies at the core of our company’s existence – one that emphasizes the natural state of beauty that comes from being in harmony and balance.
«As the company is growing larger, another important concept was connectivity; staying connected to nature, which is our main source of beauty solutions, and with each other, as well as with the world at large.»
With all of this in mind the building was designed to stay closely connected to our surroundings. While the building regulations allow for a skyscraper up to 40 floors high on this site, we opted to stay closer to the land and to nature itself at 23 floors above ground. Singular and unobtrusive, the building embodies an Asian concept of beauty that elegantly blends with nature.

The shared, open-plan layout of the workspace is meticulously designed for the well-being and professional development of our employees. It allows for free communication between employees, enabling them to move from working together to then becoming fully immersed in their work fluidly. Movement into, out of, and within the office layout is intuitive and encourages everyone to communicate, connect, and share inspiration with each other.

What impact has the transition from cubicles to an open-plan layout with neighbourhood offices had on the workflow and communication between employees?

The fact that we share desk space has led to an increased level of communication and intimacy between employees. This is even the case between different teams, as the open-plan layout encourages horizontal communication between all employees, regardless of their team and organisation. By creating an environment that provides ample opportunity of chance encounters between members of the different departments – such as marketing, sales or design – we believe that sharing information and the process of decision-making is made easier.
«The open-plan layout encourages horizontal communication between all employees, regardless of their team and organisation.»

How did your visit to the Vitra Campus and office showroom help you articulate the most important requirements for the new office environment?

The key impression we got from our visit was one of trust in Vitra, both in the company itself and in its approach to the office environment as something that is much more than just a space filled with furniture.

What was the decisive factor in your choosing Vitra?

There were several factors: Vitra’s ergonomic and beautiful design, its craftsmanship, the effort it puts into the production of its office furniture, etc. But above all, at Amorepacific we are aware of the importance of furniture in the workspace: it is not just another element, it communicates with people and with the environment. When we visited Vitra and discussed our plans and wishes, we felt we were on the same page in this respect. Of course Vitra products are reliable, but we strongly believed in the company’s devotion and ability to meet and satisfy our requirements.

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