van cleef & arpels opens nature-infused garden maison in seoul

van cleef & arpels opens nature-infused garden maison in seoul

fusing culture and commerce


Jouin Manku studio has recently completed the Van Cleef & Arpels Maison in Seoul, adding another prestigious flagship location to the jewelry brand’s portfolio, which already includes Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, the architects behind the project, were entrusted with the entire architectural conception, interior design, and meticulous attention to detail. This collaboration marks the sixteenth year of partnership between the studio and the exceptional French jewelry house, celebrating a shared fascination for the world of luxury.


Jouin Manku explored European and Western architecture by embracing Korean ideas and incorporating the country’s rich culture into the project. This approach reflects a desire for openness to the world and a quest to find a natural place within a new ecosystem.

van cleef arpels seoulimages © Yongjoon Choi



A Maison Jardin: Harmony of Nature and Serenity


Gardens hold significant importance in Korean culture, with their presence felt throughout Seoul in palaces, private residences, and temples. Recognizing the profound connection between Koreans and nature, Sanjit Manku and Patrick Jouin believed that the garden should seamlessly merge with the building. The Maison blurs the boundaries between culture and commerce, indoor and outdoor spaces, and the house and garden, resulting in a harmonious integration.


Nature gracefully permeates the structure, becoming a living landscape on each floor, from the façade to the rooftop. Visitors can wander through the building as if on a tranquil pathway, marveling at the jewelry pieces suspended in this natural environment. To achieve this seamless connection, the studio collaborated with landscape designer Seo-Ahn Total Landscape, known for their expertise in Korean landscapes and endemic species, allowing them to recreate the essence of a typical Korean mountain nature in the heart of Seoul.

van cleef arpels seoul



Tradition and Modernity Coexist


In line with the studio’s philosophy, the Seoul Maison beautifully combines tradition and modernity. The architects collaborated with experts in celadon, a traditional Korean ceramic, pushing its boundaries through the application of high heat. This collaboration involved a traditional workshop specializing in ceramic tableware. The integration of cast aluminum, an ancient material in which Koreans excel, results in a delicate, open structure that complements rather than overshadows the flagship jewelry pieces.


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,’ note architects Sanjit Manku and Patrick Jouin.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.’

van cleef arpels seoul



For the interior walls, the studio employed Hanji, one of Korea’s ancient crafts. While the manufacturing process shares similarities with other Asian papers like Japanese ‘Washi’ or Chinese ‘Xuanzhi,’ Hanji possesses a unique characteristic during its formation: the sieving process.


Korean craftsmen skillfully manipulate the plant fibers in Hanji, allowing them to flow in all directions, resulting in a robust yet irregular appearance that adds to its allure. Hanji has been used for various purposes throughout history, ranging from ordinary to extraordinary applications. Its exceptional durability, lasting up to a thousand years compared to European paper’s two hundred years, along with its ability to filter light and promote air circulation, make it an indispensable element of Korean interiors.

van cleef arpels seoul



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,’ comments Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of 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.’

van cleef & arpels opens nature-infused garden maison in seoul


van cleef & arpels opens nature-infused garden maison in seoul



project info:


project title: Van Cleef & Arpels’ Seoul Maison

architecture, interiors: Jouin Manku @jouinmanku

location: Seoul, South Korea

completion: 2023

photography: © Yongjoon Choi | @___yjc


client: Van Cleef & Arpels@vancleefarpels

executive architect: DPJ & Partners

lighting designer: Voyons Voir

landscape designer: Seo-Ahn Total Landscape (STL)

general architectural contractor: JLCOM

general interior design company: JOIN

facade: JLCOM (with celadon ceramic by Maison Objet)

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