Tomaso Galli, Prada group communications and external relations director, talks about the upcoming activities for the Prada Transformer, Tuesday, at Westin Chosun Hotel.
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
The Prada Transformer, a one-of-a-kind tetrahedron-shaped structure being constructed on the grounds of Gyeonghui Palace, will open next month with a fashion exhibition featuring skirts by top Italian designer Miuccia Prada.
Other upcoming events at the Prada Transformer include a film festival curated by renowned Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in June and a contemporary art exhibition by Prada Foundation in August.
In a press briefing Tuesday, Tomaso Galli, Prada group communications and external relations director, said the Prada Transformer will open to the public April 25 with ``Waist Down _ Skirts by Miuccia Prada.'' The fashion exhibition is an on-going project with AMO, the think tank of top architect Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).
``We will show a selection of skirts in motion that have been designed by Ms. Prada from the first ever show to the present day. The difference from past shows is the location, which is unique and different, and the combination of skirts by emerging Korean fashion students,'' Galli said.
The best universities and design institutes in Seoul have been asked to select one student to present one skirt. The selected skirts will be shown during the exhibition.
At the end of May, the Prada Transformer, which is the first shape-shifting building in the world, will be ``rotated'' to create a new cinema auditorium for the film festival ``Flesh, Mind and Soul.'' Gonzalez Inarritu, who is best known for directing the Academy Award-nominated film ``Babel,'' and film critic Elvis Mitchelle, chose the films for the festival.
``What they did was select a number of amazing movies from different countries, decades and across different genres, that would deliver a very interesting and rich cinematic experience,'' Galli said.
After the film festival is completed, the Transformer building will be rotated again to create a space for contemporary art exhibition ``Beyond Control.'' Curated by Prada Foundation artistic director Germano Celant, the exhibition will feature some of the most interesting works from the foundation's collection.
Currently under construction, the Prada Transformer is a structure that will be composed of four different shapes, a hexagon, cross, rectangle and circle. Cranes will lift and rotate the structure into different facades and floor plate configurations to create a new venue for each of the cultural programs.
Amid the backdrop of the worldwide economic crisis, Galli admitted many people have asked him why Prada is still pursuing the project and why Seoul was chosen over other Asian cities.
``We're doing this because we passionately believe in what we do. Prada is not only a fashion company. Through the Prada Foundation, we have worked for 17 years in contemporary art, we have engaged in architecture and cinema, and we really wanted to bring all of this outside of Milan and bring this to Asia. We looked at most of the important cities of Asia and we decided Seoul was the perfect place for our project,'' he said.
Galli cited Koreans' deep understanding of contemporary art, culture and architecture, wide interest in fashion, and the vibrant entertainment industry, as the reasons why Seoul edged out other Asian cities.
``This innovative, multidimensional event is very much in tune with Seoul's positioning as a very modern, forward-looking, technologically advanced metropolis,'' he said.
All the exhibitions at the Prada Transformer will be open to the public free of charge. ``We're planning to excite not just the art, fashion, cinema and architecture communities, but the entire city of Seoul. Our real goal is to provide something unique, something that would make people of all backgrounds, origins and interest, think and enjoy. We want to make this open to everybody in the city and beyond Seoul,'' he said.
Because the Transformer is a temporary structure, Prada has made a commitment with the Seoul city government to restore the grounds of Gyeonghui Palace after the project is completed.