At 216,000 sq-m, the headquarters of Amorepacific – Korea’s largest beauty company – is an unmissable stitch in Seoul’s urban fabric. Completed in 2017 by David Chipperfield Architects, the voluminous building hosts a thoughtful balance of collective, individual and porous spaces. This architectural mission was followed closely by Berlin-based practice Kinzo as the team set out to develop the 21st floor of the headquarters into a hub space for employees earlier this year.

Kinzo’s task was to use the 3,100 sq-m floor to combine an innovation lab for Amorepacific’s start-ups with the AP Cloud, a common area for the whole company. The latter is a space that ‘connects a market square with a café and a lounge for relaxing and spontaneous meetings with the so-called university,’ explains Edoardo Albano, Kinzo partner and head of design. ‘The university provides places for research, brainstorming and presentations as well as a library: up to 8,000 books can be accommodated in the periphery of a podium that resembles a coliseum. By nature, this implied the pursuit of a balance between the private sphere and the collective one.’

In addition to the larger communal areas, the C-shaped floor plan also provides the basis for the Amorepacific community to thrive with dedicated spaces for specific teams and individuals. Collaborative work can be completed in 60-sq-m ‘team houses’, modelled after typical Seoul homes and fitted with basic, flexible elements and workstations. In these ‘family areas’, multifunctional scaffolding can be used as a partition to make way for relaxation or physical activity spaces and individual breakout zones. Defined by a mixture of raw elements and bold colours, the 21st floor’s interiors are entirely equipped with Vitra furniture.

‘Kinzo’s design for the interior is based on the multiple layers of Seoul,’ says Albano. ‘It brings together the traditional housing of Gahoe-Dong, the rampant industries of Guro-Gu as well as a sophisticated taste for luxury. This diversity of the city called for complexity in the design.’