Location: Seoul, Republic Of Korea
Area: 2600.0 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Namgoong Sun
From the architect. Club Octagon answers the client brief of renovating 2640m2 over two levels of gutted hotel basement to create a high tech auditorium, club, lounge and restaurant that put music and peoples' experience first. Urbantainer developed a new type of multi-space for entertainment, socializing, and subculture that was lacking in the South Korean market. Conceptually every detail of Club Octagon works with the octagonal form from the corporate identity, including the layout, 4D Media Lighting, modular seating, to even the ice buckets in each of the VIP rooms.
The space facilities include the main floor dance floor and entertainment hall, three bars, open kitchen, mezzanine private VIP bunkers, 2nd floor VIP lounge, 2nd floor 2nd stage lounge, silent room, and women's powder room.
Some of the most famous clubs in Europe utilize the raw and empty space of factories, power stations, and prisons. In these spaces, the club is a place where culture can reinvent itself and celebrate the party scenes inhabitating them.
The design concept for Club Octagon was based on the energy of these spaces, instead of aiming to be Seoul's next trendy club. The lack of converted warehouses and factories as creative multiuse spaces in Korea inspired Urbantainer to create their own whilst including the glossy and technological elements that are a must for the wired Korean market. Urbantainer considers this design storytelling, imaginatively fulfilling desires, in this case inspired by European club culture and its converted spaces, by orchestrating the mood through design.
With the concept of a factory in mind, the club relies on limited materials and colors only. The minimal design with elements like exposed steel beams, elevator shaft, fire prevention system, ventilation, and epoxy cement floors to allow focus on the programmatic content of the events, while keeping alive the excitement of the raw energy of old school raves.
The design motif that runs throughout the club interior, lighting, and it sets the structural rules for construction in octagon. Inspired by its prevalence in Korean traditional design (such as in royal pavilions and dishes), Urbantainer chose the octagon as their design motif because of its specific representation of a human between the elements of land and heaven. Since the shape is in between a circle and a square, the octagon resembles a person, the medium between sky and land.
With that as a conceptual starting point, Urbantainer designed the entire space, fixtures, and details following the octagonal motif and setting the design guidelines using only 45, 90, and 135 degree angles throughout the entire space.
The octagonal shape also allowed the designers to create the effect of a coliseum without the design and aesthetic difficulties of building in a completely circular shape. Whilst being optimal for viewing the stage from all angles and producing superb acoustics, the octagon allowed for the presence of straight edges and was better suited for the inclusion of technological equipment into the layout design such as with the Funktion-One surround sound system.
A PLACE FOR PEOPLE
Known for their keen interest of space acting as an architectural mixing bowl for social and cultural convergence, Urbantainer intended Club Octagon to act as a space for people and subculture to mix. In addition to the multi-functional intent of the spaces overall entertainment use, the interior has been designed to offer individuals various social experiences and comfort – always having the solid clubbing situation in mind.
The walkways flow throughout the space in a very labyrinthine manner creating multitudes of nooks for social interaction and drunken random meetings. A silent room located directly off the main dance floor offers quick retreat and a rest space for phone calls and more in depth conversation. General admission standing people have been supplied with ample seating spaces for rest and stage views where such areas would usually be occupied by premium priced VIP tables. For extra comfort, the ladies powder room also offers large scale mirrors and sofas for prepping, chit chat, and retreat.
One important element of club culture in Korea are VIP Lounges. To meet these needs along with the presence of celebrity clientele, the club was designed to make their experience comfortable. Main elements are eight private VIP rooms, lit railings with a double function to impede the vision of onlookers, and a central glass elevator services the VIP section giving access directly to the main dance floor.
For Club Octagon, the design team went beyond Korean fire regulations.
In an average night, up to 6000 people will enter and exit the space until the 6am closing time, thus flow was a major concern both for general traffic and in case of emergency evacuation.
In case of fire, rolling fireproofing curtains extend down from the 8m tall main hall ceiling and divide each level of the club into four zones paired with controlled ventilation to eliminate the danger of fire. In addition to the usual stairway emergency exits at the front of the facility, two large access doors located at the back of the club act as vomitoria and allow for a quick stair-less emergency exit ramps for the large capacity crowds. Additionally they are used to aid event production and large commercial promotion such as placing automotive displays directly within the club space.
Down to finer details, clubbing safety has been taken into careful consideration. All railings, tables, ice buckets, champagne bottles, and glasses meticulously measured to ensure no glass is accidentally tipped over the balconies. Octagonal hand railings made too thin for anyone to set a glass on, balconies covered with steel mesh so that no glasses are kicked onto the dance floor below.