Rem Koolhaas’s Prada Transformer – Brilliant & odd

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OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Published on: Tuesday July 9, 2019

Last updated

What was the Prada Transformer?

The Prada Transformer is both brilliant and odd. Many people debate what it is between a fashion show stage, movie theater, or exhibition space. Well, it is all of them plus a film festival. The beauty of this structure is that the stage is not shared; each event uses up a different shape of the Prada Transformer. Located in Seoul, South Korea, the structure was a joint design between Rem Koolhaas and the Prada fashion house. Built in the form of a tetrahedron, the Prada Transformer features four sides of different shapes; circle, rectangle, cross and hexagon.

Video: Rem Koolhaas introduces the Prada Transformer

3min 42sec

How did it work?

What happens when a certain side needs to be used as the stage? That is simple – a crane will rotate the structure so that the side intended for use faces downwards. This will automatically change the appearance of the structure, its form and in turn its function. From past events, the rectangle is preferred for used as a movie theatre; the cross is for art exhibitions, the circle for special events and the hexagon for fashion exhibitions.

Although considered to be a temporary structure, the Prada Transformer turns 10 years old in 2019. The common feature that unifies the four shapes is a stark white membrane that covers the entire circumference of the four structures. Before you see all the activities that can go on in the tent, one could easily mistake it for a circus prop. The name of the Prada Transformer is quite symbolic and is representative of the fact that the pavilion can easily be turned manually to create a choice floor. Such is the work that went into organizing four special events that have already taken place at this destination.

Construction of OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Construction of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Construction of OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Construction of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Video: Timelapse – Rotation of the Prada Transformer

3min 8sec

Former location of the Prada Transformer

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea


Deoksugung Palace (덕수궁)
99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 중구 정동 세종대로 99

Exhibition & Film festival inside the cocoon

Exhibition: Waist Down

The name of the first exhibition to be ever held at the Prada Transformer was the ‘Waist Down’. This is a themed exhibition that is traveling by nature. As the name suggests, the exhibition is based on imagining and telling stories that touch on issues that touch on pars of the body below the waist. Using humor, the exhibition is supposed to inspire emotional and cultural imaginations on sex, identity and desire.

Film Festival: Flesh, Mind and Spirit

‘Flesh, Mind and Spirit’ exhibition would later follow. A fascinating film festival, it would open up the roll on a series of events that involved cinema. Both enticing and dynamic, this exhibition is designed to showcase over a period of 2 weeks during which a series of 14 films are screened.

Exhibition: Turn into me

The third cycle of exhibition work to be installed was called ‘Turn into me’ which incorporates a series of 3-dimensional constructions. Using humor and animation that provoke the viewer’s imagination, this exhibitive work featured skeletons, eyes, and images of human anguish.

Exhibition: The Students

The last exhibition and which completed a four-part rotation of the Prada Transformer building was ‘The Students’ Take Over.’ Span over an entire day, this exhibition was dedicated to new art with a focus on work done by students from the various universities around South Korea.

Photos

Prada Transformer

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
OMA – Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Inside the Prada Transformer

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Waist Down exhibition

Waist down exhibition in OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Waist down exhibition in OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Waist down exhibition in OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Waist down exhibition in OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Waist down exhibition in OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Waist down exhibition in OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Cinema

Cinema inside of OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Cinema inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Cinema inside of OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Cinema inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

Cinema inside of OMA - Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea
Cinema inside of OMA’s Prada Transformer, 2009, Deoksugung, Seoul, South Korea

All images: Iwan Baan/oma.eu unless otherwise noted.

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