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The Van Cleef & Arpels' Maison in Seoul

Van Cleef & Arpels - Séoul


After Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo, Jouin Manku has completed Van Cleef & Arpels’ Maison in Seoul. For this new project, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku were entrusted with the entire architectural conception of the building, the interior architecture and the design of every final detail.
A complete project and a new opportunity to share a fascination for the world, as the studio celebrates its sixteenth year of collaboration with the exceptional French maison de haute joaillerie.

Van Cleef & Arpels is driven by savoir-faire, excellence, culture, and heritage, and plays a significant role in the development of decorative arts. Under the management of Nicolas Bos, the brand actively engages in various cultural activities, including commissioning dance performances and sponsoring a school of jewelry arts. This commitment has been the driving force behind the collaboration with Jouin Manku studio, intertwining cultural alliances with Van Cleef & Arpels' commercial endeavors and solidifying its reputation as a dream provider.

This project aims to create a showcase for Van Cleef & Arpels in Korea, highlighting its craftsmanship, heritage, and appreciation for arts and culture. It also seeks to establish connections between the East and the West, embracing and celebrating Korean culture. Rather than imposing a particular style, the project strives to create a sophisticated blend that seamlessly combines commerce and culture, contemporary elements and traditional craftsmanship.
Jouin Manku has taken on the challenge of incorporating Korean ideas into their vision of European and Occidental architecture, reflecting the country's rich cultural wealth in the project. They advocate for a spirit of openness to the world, seeking to find their natural place in a new ecosystem.

"With the establishment of this new Maison, we are commemorating even stronger connections with this country, renowned for its longstanding craftsmanship tradition that resonates with the values embraced by Van Cleef & Arpels. Undoubtedly, the boutique was meticulously designed to forge a harmonious fusion of French jewelry heritage and Korean cultural legacy, fostering this dialogue for the years ahead."

Nicolas Bos - President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels

"This project provided us with the opportunity to envision an entirely new building, a structure that would firmly establish Van Cleef & Arpels as a prominent landmark in the Seoul skyline. Across five levels, we meticulously designed a captivating natural setting, creating spaces that are ideal for hosting artistic events such as exhibitions and conferences. The layout comprises a dynamic sequence of vibrant areas intermingled with serene pockets of tranquility, offering visitors an enchanting journey."

Patrick Jouin & Sanjit Manku - Jouin Manku

To cover the walls, we used one of the most ancestral crafts of Korea, the Hanji. While the manufacturing process is relatively similar to that of other Asian papers such as Japanese “Washi” or Chinese “Xuanzhi”, the main originality of “Hanji” lies in a key stage of its manufacture: the sieving, which determines the formation of the paper sheet. In this step, the unique movements of Korean craftsmen, which allow the plant fibers that make up Hanji to flow in all directions, produce a paper that is strong but somewhat irregular in appearance, which is one of its charms.


Celadon latticework

The building is enveloped in a celadon-glazed ceramic lattice - a tradition characteristic of one of Korea's most innovative skills, developed and mastered locally for over two millennia - the ceramic pieces are supported by specially designed aluminum elements.
The latticework is illuminated by light points concealed in steel light caps. This work perfectly embodies the desire to fuse tradition and innovation.

The ceramic pieces were made in a traditional workshop that usually produces tableware, and the specific witch-colored celadon glaze developed and produced specifically for the façade was produced in one of Korea's last artisan celadon glaze workshops.
The aluminum was only possible thanks to a specific local production condition: the historic know-how of metallurgy, maintained to this day by Korea's cutting-edge industries.
« This combination of celadon and aluminium envelops the building, which encloses, let’s say, the gardens and the interior spaces, but it’s also something that when you’re on the inside also makes you not feel like you’re in a fishbowl, we have floor to ceiling glass. But because of this beautiful thing that’s kind of protecting you from the inside, you also feel intimate. »
Patrick Jouin & Sanjit Manku, Jouin Manku

More information

In figures

Architectural concept, interior architecture, design:
Sanjit Manku
Patrick Jouin
Jacques Goubin
Yann Brossier
Olivier Evrard
Dorien Peters
Julien Lizé

Executive architect:
DPJ & Partners – David Pierre Jalicon – Seoul, South Korea
Lighting Designer:
Voyons Voir – Stéphane Carratero – Paris, France
Landscape designer:                             STL – Seo-Ahn Total landscape – JUNG YoungSun – Seoul, South Korea
Studio Jouin Manku (bespoke design)
Studio Patrick Jouin iD (« Ester » collection for Pedrali / « Manda » and « Vendôme » collection for Starset).

Craftmens & companiesJLCOM (general architectural contractor)
JOIN (general interior design company)
JLCOM (facade, with celadon ceramic by Maison Objet)
JOIN (stair)


Van Cleef & Arpels Seoul Maison - Jouin Manku © Yongjoon Choi
Van Cleef & Arpels Seoul Maison  © Van Cleef & Arpels


International Architecture & Design Awards 2023: 
- Commercial Architecture Built, Silver winner