Sulwhasoo by Neri & Hu: 2016 Best of Year Winner for Beauty/Spa
Helping his mother with her tea-seed oil business when he was growing up, Suh Sungwhan had a bright idea: Use traditional Korean medicinal herbs to produce luxurious skin-care products. Decades later, planning his own beauty company’s debut flagship, he asked husband-wife Interior Design Hall of Fame members Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu to make it resemble a traditional Korean lantern.
Easier said than done, however. The five- story, 21,000-square-foot building needed to “look as delicate as possible, despite the massive volume, while also maintaining structural safety,” Hu explains. The solution was a continuous, modular framework constructed with brass rods. They’re anchored to wide oak floorboards that occasionally rise to wrap counters built with solid travertine or Carrara marble blocks. “On top of the counters, the products are displayed as precious objects,” Neri says. The framework starts down in the basement spa, then rises through the retail levels—where the goods are illuminated by glass globe fixtures with leather straps tethered to the rods—to become a canopy for the roof terrace. Wander its pathways of pebbles and brick for enviable views of the city.
Project Team: Anne Charlotte Wiklander; Sela Lim; Li Yinan; Sun Kailun; Brian Lo; Nicolas Fardet; Christine Neri; Xin Haiou; Poeng Litien.