More Than Meets The Runway: Koolhaas’s Prada Transformer


[image via Prada Transformer website]

A oddly malformed pavilion-like object stands next to the 16th-century Gyeonghui Palace in Seoul, Korea. What is it exactly? Whatever you need it to be. Composed of four uniquely-shaped sides—hexagon, cross, rectangle, and square—the Prada Transformer is another in a long list of collaborations between the famed Italian designer and arguably equally famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. While the structure may epitomizes Koolhaas’ penchant for cross programming, the tetrahedronal pavilion does not “transform” autonomously – much to the chagrin of fans of a certain 80’s robot cartoon series, I’m sure. Instead, the pavilion will “transform” with the assistance of cranes, as shown in time-lapse videos on the official Prada Transformer website. Starting tomorrow, April 25th, the convertible construct will host a variety of events that transcend both fashion and architecture. “What was also important is that, for the first time, Prada gave up on the idea that all the activities should be separate,” said Koolhaas in Interview Magazine.


[image via Prada Transformer website]

The first exhibition, Waist Down – Skirts by Miucccia Prada will use the pavilion as a sort of runway where Prada and AMO will “playfully re-examine the ability of the skirt to prompt further cultural and emotional explorations of desire, sex and identity.” (What, again?) Then in June, the pavilion will live up to its name and transform into a ersatz theatre featuring short films selected by Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Additional exhibitions will be announced over the course of the next five months.


[image via Prada Transformer website]


[image via Prada Transformer website]

Perhaps its best left to Koolhaas himself to explain the Transformer. My favorite excerpt from the above mentioned interview:

KOOLHAAS: Each section has its own footprint, and they are directly connected only at a few points. Architecturally, each of these footprints has a geometrical shape, but in order to combine them, you have these formless sections in between. So in that sense, it’s something that is both very formal and formless. It’s also about the current moment in architecture, because most of it is a blob . . .

VEZZOLI: What does that mean?

Then again, perhaps not. For a look at some other recently announce pavilions, check out my article online now Art in America.

&#183 Koolhaas & Prada Create an Art Force Field in Milan [Life Without Buildings]

1 reply on “More Than Meets The Runway: Koolhaas’s Prada Transformer”

Hey Jimmy.. yea, I’m going to go see this next month.. It’s an AMO project though, and I think it’s very successful as an AMO project but not particularly as an OMA project (I hope you know what I mean?)

I was wondering if you’d be there for postopolis. Guess not?

Anyhow, see you around —

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