While the world is trying to catch up with the latest technological innovations, attempting to introduce them into different aspects of everyday life, Seoul continues to leave visitors in awe with its ability to elegantly weave the beauty of traditional architecture with the vibrance of futuristic infrastructure. Of the city’s many tourist attractions, the one that perhaps best exemplifies this is Lotte World Tower (롯데월드타워).
Drawing inspiration from Korean ceramics and calligraphy, Lotte Group began the design of the building around 1989 with the intention to make it the tallest one in Korea. After years of planning, they finally received construction approval in 2010, and the tower was finalised and ready to be open to the public in April 2017, having achieved the company’s goal to be the tallest skyscraper in Korea, and 5th tallest building in the world.
Lotte Tower is situated in Sincheon-dong, Songpa. It is 555 metres high, consists of 123 floors (and 6 additional underground levels), and the facade is composed of 42,000 pale-coloured glass windows, which express the soft curves and simple beauty typically found in Korean traditional objet d’art, and reflect sunlight during the daytime and the lights of the city at night.
However, the real surprises are on the inside. The building contains its own world of shops, restaurants, cinemas, art museums, offices, a luxury hotel and apartments, a convention centre, an aquarium, and so much more! Additionally, at its base is the enormous Lotte Mall, which is the perfect place to spend a rainy day, and at the very top is Seoul Sky, a unique glass-floor observatory that offers a panoramic view of Seoul, and which can be accessed by the largest double-decker lift in the world, called the Sky Shuttle, whose inside is covered in organic LED screens which immerse the passengers “in a virtual journey through the history of the city and its landmarks” (Elevator Magazine, 23/11/2022).
Moreover, Lotte World Tower includes the most famous theme park in Seoul, Lotte World Adventure, and an art installation like no other in the world, Teamlab World.
Lotte World Adventure
Lotte World Adventure, the largest indoor theme park in the world, was inaugurated several years before Lotte Tower, in 1989, and it is open all year round. One of its most impressive features is the extensive glass ceiling that covers it, as well as the fact that the ‘Adventure’ area of the park is divided into four different floors filled with attractions, parades, performances, and food from around the world. In addition, the park includes other amenities such as a department store, an ice rink for skating, a kid zone, a zone called Underland (themed as a goblin village, which contains a 4D shooting theatre, a virtual experience in which the spectators shoot at creatures that appear on the screen), and the Folk Museum, which has a display of miniature models of Korea throughout history.
In 1990, an outside area called ‘Magic Island’ was added. It is located in the centre of the beautiful lake Seokchon, which looks especially stunning during spring, when the cherry blossom trees surrounding it are in full bloom. This area of the park has a charming mediaeval European-style castle, many game booths, and the most intense attractions, such as free falls, flume rides and rollercoasters.
This art installation is located permanently in Lotte Tower and it has the most incredible interactive creations. It was put together by a team of Japanese artists, designers, programmers, animators and mathematicians, and each room offers a truly unique experience.
The more curious rooms include: one where the walls sprout flowers and butterflies upon touch; another with an animated projection that shows the evolution of the sea levels in the span of a hundred years, between 2009 and 2109; a room full of different sized balls that change colour and play music upon touch; a space where you can draw fish, which would then be added to the projected ‘aquarium’ on the walls, filled with sea creatures created by all the visitors; and another chamber where you can create your own city, by drawing buildings and other features that would be added to the walls, contributing to the visitor-made Sims-style city.
Lotte World Tower has provided a huge positive boost to the economy of Seoul, attracting millions of locals and foreigners alike. The unique range of experiences it offers has enriched its surrounding neighbourhoods, and given the residents a wider variety of places to socialise with friends and family. Moreover, the tower has received many prizes and accolades for its extraordinary innovation and for pushing the boundaries of technology, such as several GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for the largest cinema screen, the highest glass-floor observation deck, and the tallest and fastest double-deck lift (all in 2017). This design and architectural marvel continues to captivate the millions of visitors it welcomes each year, and it is definitely a must-see spot for anyone travelling to South Korea!
Written by: Anna Franco Ucar
Revised by: Luisa Quintero
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