Van Cleef & Arpels’ Seoul Maison – A world of wonder at the crossroads of cultural traditions


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Van Cleef & Arpels, present in Korea since 1989, is strengthening its ties to this country with the inauguration of a new boutique in the dynamic Cheongdam-dong neighborhood.


Designed by Jouin Manku Agency

The Maison will be showcasing its universe in a building entirely designed by the Jouin Manku Agency, amid a refined decor reflecting both Korean artistic heritage and the sources of inspiration dear to Van Cleef & Arpels. Drawing from French and Korean traditions, the Maison is fashioning a unique architectural jewel where its creations will shine together with the art of hospitality, all in ample spaces conducive to reverie. With this prestigious location, Seoul joins Paris (Place Vendôme), New York (Fifth Avenue), Tokyo (Ginza) and Hong Kong (Landmark Prince’s) in the inner circle of iconic Van Cleef & Arpels addresses.


Located on the south bank of the Hangang River — which flows through the city from west to east — Seoul Maison Van Cleef & Arpels stands out for its sweeping openwork façade revealing a monumental garden. The grille calls to mind a web of giant reeds fluidly enveloping the building in a lozenge pattern — a tribute to the maison’s hallmark — through which the eye can distinguish the various volumes making up the boutique’s five levels.

“The Maison Jardin”

The interior of the building is awash in a luxuriant garden that seems to extend through the bay windows, hence the nickname “The Maison Jardin”. An allusion to the seven mountains encircling the city, all five boutique levels thrive in a lush tribute to nature, a special source of inspiration for Van Cleef & Arpels since its creation. .


In a collaboration with world-renowned landscape architect Seo Ahn, the garden changes with the seasons and reigns as the mainspring of the boutique’s decor, complementing an assortment of earnestly understated furnishings. The visit continues with a wide staircase leading to the first upper level of the maison. Furnished with counters and vertical showcases, the wall and ceiling display iconic examples of Korean craftsmanship: hanji, the exacting art of hand-crafted paper. Complete with a library, it lets visitors discover the poetic universe of Van Cleef & Arpels through a collection of richly illustrated books, all illuminated by a luxurious glass chandelier.

Under the management of Nicolas Bos, we see a brand that is heavily involved in a range of cultural activities, from commissioning dance performances to sponsoring a school of jewellery arts. It is this commitment that has fuelled the Jouin Manku studio. These cultural alliances are interwoven throughout the new boutique, with the entire surface of the boutique’s second level intended to serve as an exhibition venue. It’s meant to host talks and conferences organised by L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewellery Arts, with the added ambition of serving as a platform for Korean artists.

The final two levels of the Van Cleef & Arpels’ Seoul Maison comprise of two exclusive settings: a private salon and a terrace. Surrounded by bay windows on all sides, it offers the lounge area a panoramic view of the city.


“With the creation of this new Maison, we are celebrating ever stronger bonds with this country, known for a long tradition of craftsmanship that echoes the values espoused by Van Cleef & Arpels. Indeed, the boutique was designed to form a union between the French jewelry tradition and Korean cultural heritage, and to nurture this dialogue for years to come.”
Nicolas Bos-President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels

“This project offered us the opportunity to imagine a whole new building, a structure that would establish Van Cleef & Arpels as a prominent feature in the Seoul landscape. Over five levels, we designed a dreamlike natural decor with spaces suited to hosting artistic functions – exhibitions and conferences – along an itinerary in which lively spaces alternate with intimate islands of tranquility.”
Sanjit Manku & Patrick Jouin –  Studio Jouin Manku

Location Seoul
Design Jouin Manku Agency
Photos courtesy  Van Cleef & Arpels Seoul Maison, Studio Jouin Manku © Yongjoon Choi

by AN shopfitting magazine no.171 ©