Waterfront Door/ Into the Ocean | Migliore + Servetto Architects

Busan / South Korea / 2021

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It is an urban graphic intervention that involves the redevelopment of the Millak waterside park, a 500-meter-long area running along the coastal strip of the Korean city in the Suyeoung district.


Already established as a meeting place and walking destination along the sea before the pandemic, the park was the object of a competition organized by the Korea Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism as part of the “Public art project-Our town art” project. This visionary and strategic national initiative involves redeveloping certain urban areas, paying particular attention to the establishment of urban community places in which safe social distancing is respected by means of artistic interventions carried out by local workforces. All this is intended to provide real support to the professional world of art and culture as this sector has been hugely affected by the pandemic and its restrictions.


The Milan-based studio Migliore + Servetto Architects designed a dense and colourful pattern that evokes the marine world. Working in collaboration with the Art SoHyang art gallery, it involved 40 local artists who were called on to translate the sketch designed by Ico Migliore into the large scale of the waterfront. Thus, the project is not only the expression of the enriching dialogue between art and design, as similar disciplines in terms of research and tools, but also an example of the fruitful cross-cultural exchange between Italy and Asia.


The dense texture conceived by Ico Migliore is a further expression of the research that the architect has been carrying out for a long time with the studio. This research is aimed at reflecting on the concept of the value and role of patterns in our surroundings, which is indeed an extremely current topic concerning proximity and distance between people and contexts. In addition, this issue was the subject of personal exhibitions in Seoul and Busan and led to the involvement of a selected number of students in a thematic workshop at the Dongseo University in 2019. The result of this workshop was a work of many hands, an installation which is now part of the permanent collection of the Art SoHyang gallery in Busan.


The drawings itself marks the pathway along the coast and suggests a safe distance for those who may stop here. Developing from the macro to the micro level, it interweaves the design of the rest areas within the continuity given by the wave sign and marine elements. The rhythm of the narration develops from five 4x4meter-large wider areas that constitute the same number of thematic squares, each one characterized by a specific colour and drawing to punctuate the pathway, offering a useful reference point for orientation.


The pattern therefore takes shape around these larger thematic areas, from which a series of additional signs in various scale spreads out. First, the smaller-scale squared elements – also marked by various bright shades - outline smaller 2x2m rest areas indicated by a progressive numbering system, which enables easier identification of the different points of the pathway, acting almost like street numbers and facilitating orientation. Lastly, smaller graphic signs evoke marine populations and provide a strong characterisation for the pattern as they are closely linked to the genius loci, vocation and culture of the ocean opposite: sharks, octopuses, smooth hammerheads and many others mill around in the waves of this graphic ocean.
The pattern as a whole thus not only emphasises the city’s wonderful view over the sea, but also forms a punctuated pathway that addresses marine nature and relationships between people. It is a playground for children with a wealth of discoveries and stories to open up their imagination.


The result is a place that invites people to inhabit it. It is the outcome of a project that looks towards a new modern concept of urban space to respond to the changing needs of the pandemic context, which are claiming more and more open-air spaces aggregation while always remaining respectful of social distancing when required. New urban tapestries are thereby generated that are able to look at the city as our “collective home” and redesign it.


As such, it is a dynamic space whose appearance changes according to different times and seasons, as well as depending on the presence of people who dwell and constantly shape this place.

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    It is an urban graphic intervention that involves the redevelopment of the Millak waterside park, a 500-meter-long area running along the coastal strip of the Korean city in the Suyeoung district. Already established as a meeting place and walking destination along the sea before the pandemic, the park was the object of a competition organized by the Korea Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism as part of the “Public art project-Our town art” project. This visionary and strategic...

    Project details
    • Year 2021
    • Work finished in 2021
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Waterfront / Urban Furniture / Graphic Design / River and coastal redevelopment
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