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Tour K-Pop’s All-New Headquarters—It’s Stunning

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K-pop, which is short for Korean popular music, is a genre that wields a power few in the world experience. Consider the fact that in 2020, K-pop contributed over $5 billion to the South Korean gross domestic product (GDP), while also garnering more than 1.4 billion views on a single YouTube music video (as BTS’s song “DNA” did). And it’s because of this unfathomable stardom that K-Pop’s biggest bands—BTS, iKon, Seventeen, and Got7—need a bigger and better central hub to outsource their precious commodity around the globe. Last week, that finally happened. The Dutch firm UNStudio completed a stunning headquarters for YG Entertainment, one of the top three production companies of K-pop in South Korea. And true to form, the building is shaped to mimic the product they create. “The design for the building is inspired by the music industry, which is why we wanted to create something of an urban speaker,” says Ben van Berkel, founder and principal architect at UNStudio. “It is designed to be more reminiscent of a product than a building.”

According to the architects, the atrium is the heartbeat of the building. “It is flooded with daylight, has an indoor planting scheme, and the exposed capsule-like meeting rooms visually connect it to the rest of the building,” architect Ben van Berkel says.

The building, which is located in Seoul’s Mapo district (a cultural hub of the city), contains a workspace for employees, futuristic meeting rooms, as well as recording studios. Meeting rooms look more like geometrical works of art rather than banal spaces for employees to gather, while the large, glass-enclosed central atrium creates an immediate connection for the building’s interior, and for those people who happen to walk past from the outside. With streams of natural light flowing through, the space has a soft, almost ethereal feel to it. And that’s exactly what the architects had in mind. “We wanted the interior to be a brightly lit space, an uplifting and energetic space,” van Berkel explains. “We wanted to provide [the] employees with the most uplifting and inspiring work environment possible. This also meant that we had to design the interior much more on the human scale.” 

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