It is one of the world’s largest man-made islands, but this is not the only distinction that the Floating Island on Seoul’s Han River has earned for itself. The massive complex is one of the finest examples of the city’s flair.
With a price tag estimated at US$88 million, the Floating Island is composed of three islets: Vista, Viva (which opened in June) and Terra. The design of each building on each island is meant to resemble flowers that depict three stages of their development – as a seed (Terra), a flower bud (Viva) and a flower in full bloom (Vista). It is hardly surprising that local residents have given it the moniker “Flower of the Hangang”.
In a feat of skilful engineering, the three islands actually float on the river surface with the help of giant airbags and 28 three-ply weather-resistant mooring chains that keep them in place. Also, Vista has been installed with 54 sqm of solar energy panels that generate six kilowatts of energy daily.
This mixed-use complex is designed to be a leisure and entertainment destination as well as a venue for conferences, meetings and exhibitions. Retail shops, restaurant and cafés, as well as water sports facilities will complement the convention and entertainment halls, giving event organisers all the services they need under one roof. Also part of the complex is the adjacent Media Art Gallery, already the site for many outdoor events and a crowd-pleaser because of its 1,000-inch LED screen and staging paraphernalia that provide the “wow” for whatever event is presented onstage.
The 20,400 sqm venue welcomed its first events in June this year with the opening of the Viva complex. Among the first to hold an iconic event in this swanky venue was the luxury fashion house Fendi for the preview of its 2011 Fall and Winter Collection.
“Everything except for Island 3 was used for the event,” recalls Kim Beom-Soo, head of management at Flossom – Hangang Floating Island Construction and Management. “Some of the interior works for the venues were still under construction, so Fendi arranged for their own decorations and settings.” The Media Art Gallery was used to flag several event-related displays, while Viva was used for the fashion show and Vista was the site for the reception and VIP dinner.
The event was staged despite controversy as animal rights activists held anti-fur protests in an attempt to scuttle the show. This initially led the Seoul city government to withdraw its permission for the event to be held at the Floating Island, but it relented when Fendi said it would feature fewer fur products on the runway. Like its other iconic event held at China’s Great Wall, the combination of a stellar catwalk in a unique location was a hit, gaining worldwide news coverage.
This November, Floating Island is the official venue for the 2011 Seoul International Conference of Unesco Creative Cities Network, organised by the Seoul Design Foundation. Another high-profile event that Floating Island has on its calendar is the 2012 SKAL International Congress, set for October with an expected 1,500 to 2,000 people in attendance.
“As the city’s first new convention facility to open in this decade, Floating Island promises to offer a completely new event experience,” says Kim.
TOTAL FLOOR AREA: 20,400 sqm
CONFERENCE SPACE: A convention hall that can seat up to 700 people is located in the Viva complex, the second biggest of the three islets measuring more than 10,371 sqm. When construction on the other two islets is completed, it is expected that the Floating Island will have a total capacity for 1,400 convention delegates.
EXHIBITION SPACE: A multipurpose entertainment hall, measuring 1,011 sqm, is located on Islet 1, named Vista.
The mixed-used venue is expected to have retail shops, restaurants and cafés. Islet 3, called Terra, will feature water sports facilities, including a marina, a clubroom that can be used for dining events, and a lounge. There is also the Media Art Gallery, another floating structure right next to the three islets, which has a 1,000-inch LED screen complemented by sophisticated stage lighting and sound systems. It has already served as a venue for a number of outdoor riverfront concerts, multimedia shows and other
Flossom – Hangang Floating Island Construction and Management , Woo-jin Building 4th Floor Seocho-Gu, Jamwon-Dong 76-4 Seoul, South Korea 137-909
TEL: +82 2 3447 3084