MVRDV has completed a new two-building arts and entertainment complex, located in close proximity to seoul’s incheon airport. dubbed ‘the imprint’, the development contains a nightclub in one building, while the other accommodates an indoor theme park. the windowless structures are defined by three key characteristics: imprinted façades, lifted entrances, and, perhaps most eye-catchingly, a golden entrance covering one corner of the nightclub building.

MVRDV paradise city
all images © ossip van duivenbode



the two structures form part of seoul’s ‘paradise city’ complex, which comprises a total of six buildings. once complete, the development will provide a full suite of entertainment and hotel attractions less than a kilometer away from south korea’s largest airport. the client asked MVRDV for a design that featured no windows, but still felt integrated within its urban setting. in response, the architects referenced the elevations of the neighboring structures — either by draping them over the new buildings like a shadow, or by imprinting them as relief patterns on the new façades.

MVRDV paradise city
a golden entrance covers one corner of the nightclub building



to achieve the desired ‘imprint’, the structures have been constructed from glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels. as many of the 3,869 panels are unique, the construction required molds to be individually produced using MVRDV’s 3D modeling files from the design phase. once installed, these panels were painted white in order to emphasize the relief in the design.

MVRDV paradise city
mirrored ceilings and glass media floors are found within the entrance



‘by placing, as it were, surrounding buildings into the facades of our buildings and in the central plaza, we connect the imprint with the neighbors,’ says winy maas, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. ‘this ensures coherence. paradise city is not a collection of individual objects such as las vegas, but a real city. two months ago most of the cladding was done and client said, ‘this is an art piece.’ what is interesting about that is that they are looking for that momentum — that entertainment can become art or that the building can become artistic in that way. what, then, is the difference between architecture an art? the project plays with that and I think that abstraction is part of it, but it has to surprise, seduce and it has to calm down.’

MVRDV paradise city
the kaleidoscopic surfaces provide a dramatic introduction to the building



the entrances, where the façades are lifted like a curtain to reveal mirrored ceilings and glass media floors, exude a sense of the excitement happening inside. ‘reflection and theatricality are therefore combined,’ maas continues. ‘with our design, after the nightly escapades, a zen-like silence follows during the day, providing an almost literally reflective situation for the after parties. giorgio de chirico would have liked to paint it, I think.’ see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

MVRDV paradise city
color is applied almost like a shadow

MVRDV paradise city
features from the surrounding structures are projected and imprinted onto the new buildings

MVRDV paradise city
the corner of the building is lifted to indicate its entrance

MVRDV paradise city
the two buildings are part of the larger ‘paradise city’ complex

MVRDV paradise city
at the entrances to the buildings, the façades are lifted like a theater curtain

MVRDV paradise city
the windowless structures are located in close proximity to seoul’s incheon airport

MVRDV paradise city
the indoor theme park illuminated at night



project info:


architect: MVRDV
principal-in-charge: winy maas
partner: wenchian shi
design team: maría lópez calleja with daehee suk, xiaoting chen, kyosuk lee, guang ruey tan, stavros gargaretas, mafalda rangel, and dong min lee
photography: ossip van duivenbode


partners —
co-architect: GANSAM architects & partners, south korea
façade consultant: VS-A group ltd
panelization consultant: WITHWORKS
GFRC: techwall
lighting: l’observatoire international