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Heatherwick Studio reimagines Seoul’s Nodeul Island with "fragmented floating islets"

Korea, South Architecture News - Jun 05, 2024 - 10:03   2008 views

Heatherwick Studio reimagines Seoul’s Nodeul Island with

British design practice Heatherwick Studio has unveiled plans to transform an uninhabited island on the Han River into a new public park in the centre of Seoul, South Korea.

Called Soundscape, the project will serve as a public space for musical performances and artistic interventions in a dynamic and fragmented structure. 

In a stunning, biodiverse setting, the Soundscape project builds a trail of dramatic spaces on various levels that can accommodate musical performances and artistic events. 

The design was chosen after a year-long series of exhibitions, consultations, and public voting. Heatherwick Studio is inspired by Seoul's hilly landscape and the patterns produced by soundwaves.  

Heatherwick Studio reimagines Seoul’s Nodeul Island with

"I am thrilled that Soundscape has been chosen by the people of Seoul," said Thomas Heatherwick, the founder and design director of Heatherwick Studio. 

"In this hyper-digital age, we’ve had so many amazing innovations in the way people live but there has also been an increasing sense of loneliness and isolation."

"We want to make a hyper-physical place that reconnects Seoulites with nature, culture and, most importantly, with each other," Heatherwick added.

"Nodeul Island will give everyone an amazing excuse to escape and embrace the city. A landscape that bends and folds like soundwaves will combine with a new nature-rich waterfront and offer people a place to discover and express the culture of Seoul." 

"We look forward to working with the Metropolitan Government to realise all their bold ambitions for this site," he continued.

Heatherwick Studio reimagines Seoul’s Nodeul Island with

As guests arrive on the island, they will see a changing landscape that is informed by the tides and the seasons. A public beach and an arts center will be placed on the ground floor. 

With delicate, realistic planting, the design will fortify the riverbanks rather than destroy the current artificial landscape. 

After that, the scenery will rise to an events podium that links to a striking 1.2-kilometer skywalk. This trail will consist of a number of tiny, suspended islets that will serve as rest areas with breathtaking views of Seoul across the island and river.  

"We’ve been really intrigued by how new interventions can really bring Nodeul Island to life.  Its not just about an exciting new aerial canopy, but developing a whole creative ecosystem, where spaces above and below the floating landscape are buzzing with activity," said Neil Hubbard, group leader and partner at Heatherwick Studio.

"Upon first discovering a serene, restful island where the landscape focuses on native flora and fauna the visitors will then wander up from the water’s edge to experience drama and harmonies in the sky. Soundscape will be a gateway and a getaway worthy of the energy and life of Seoul," Hubbard added.

Heatherwick Studio reimagines Seoul’s Nodeul Island with

Once complete, it will be Heatherwick Studio's first project in South Korea to begin construction. The studio will now begin working on the next phases of the design in collaboration with the Metropolitan Government, and visitors will be able to experience the renovated Nodeul Island in 2027.  

Heatherwick Studio also designs a new public space - called The Leaf - on the Han River in South Korea. Heatherwick Studio designed a similar project in New York called Little island. Little Island opened to the public in 2021.

In addition, in 2023, the studio curated a retrospective exhibition called Building Soulfulness at the Culture Station Seoul 284 which attracted almost 60,000 visitors in just 60 days. 

All images © MIR.

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concept Heatherwick Studio public park Seoul Thomas Heatherwick