The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Zaha Hadid’s incredible new complex in Seoul, was completed in 2013.

Set in the heart of Seoul’s Dongdaemun district, the building is a city-block-sized array of twisting and interlocking forms, raised up on a forest of canted concrete columns. Over 45,000 aluminum panels clad the exterior, each uniquely cut in an array of shapes and forms—there is a total absence of straight lines. The stark beauty of the raw concrete undercroft is contrasted with an interior of dazzling white curves. As the name suggests, this isn’t just a retail destination, with space given over to exhibitions, teaching centers and seminar rooms as well as a dedicated Design Museum and 24-hour design shop. The Dongdaemun area is home to a remarkable 26 malls, and while its rival, Gangam, has the architecture of high-end consumption pretty much sewn up, more and more design-led stores and businesses are making their base here. Set around the towering Dongdaemun Gate, one of the entrances to the original Seoul Fortress, the area is best known for night markets, street food, fashion outlets and specialist commercial suppliers and manufacturers. The DDP sits amongst all this vibrant energy and constant change, providing a creative heart intended to offer potential and wonder for the district’s burgeoning design scene.

Distance from Conrad Seoul: 45—75 minutes by train



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