Lotte Shopping Co. Ltd. (Seoul) had a specific goal when it tapped Cincinnati-based FRCH Design Worldwide to convert a former competitor’s department store in Guri, South Korea: introduce the brand to this new market in a friendly way that would also convert customers loyal to the former brand into Lotte shoppers.
Located about an hour from Seoul, the 10-story building was previously occupied by LG, a mid-market department store, in an up-and-coming city with a growing population of young families. “It wasn’t Lotte’s typical, edgy, downtown spot,” says Jim Fitzgerald, Jr., director, FRCH.
That meant designers needed to focus on using a warmer approach to Lotte’s sleek, modern look, while creating a streamlined, open, easy-to-navigate space. The results earned the project this year’s VMSD Retail Renovation of the Year award. Judges were wowed by the renovated store’s improved organization and updated design, noting the removal of cluttered ceiling coffers and decorative elements.
“Merchandise is the star and the design is appropriately showcasing it,” says Brian Shafley, president and chief creative officer of Chute Gerdeman (Columbus, Ohio), and one of this year’s judges. The panel also praised the addition of recessed linear LEDs along department perimeters, which provide a navigational element on each level.
During the redesign, designers focused on communal spaces, emphasizing Lotte’s signature gold hue in heavy-foot-traffic areas, especially elevator lobbies. To avoid an antiquated feel, they combined brass and matte-gold tones on each floor with nature-based elements. “This natural sophistication is friendly, but doesn’t drive away high-end customers,” says Heesun Kim, vp and creative director, FRCH.
The department store also includes a gourmet supermarket; kid’s lounges; a men’s lounge with television, books and magazines; a flexible event hall and promotional space; a restaurant and café; an open-air sculpture garden; and even an art gallery and cultural center where parents can take art classes with their children. In other words, something for everyone, kids included.
Lotte Department Store, Guri, South Korea
Lotte Shopping Co. Ltd., Seoul: Binna Shin, project manager; Kil-Yong Park, executive managing director, design division, Lotte Shopping Co.;
FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati: Young Rok Park, vp, creative director; Jim Lazzari, chief architectural officer, Jim Fitzgerald, Jr., director; Young Rok Park, vp, creative director; HeeSun Kim, vp, creative director; Lara Roller, senior interior designer; Amanda Searfoss, interior designer; Amy Baffi, interior designer; Lori Kolthoff, creative director, resource design; Ashley Floyd, resource designer; Nicole Mysinger, co-op; Ric Gerke, document manager; Joe Brumback, model manager; Joe Bradley, director, documentation; Luanne Carleton, design director; Jennifer Eng, resource designer; Anne Fugazzi, modeler; Katie Gottlieb, senior interior designer; Robyn Novak, creative managing director; Mari Miura, director; Lindsay Isaacs, co-op; Jennifer Sullivan, co-op; Jen Mackall, interior designer
Photography: Lotte Design Division, Seoul