Dongdaemun Design Plaza Wayfinding

Merit Award 2015

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, located in the center of Seoul, is not only the epicenter of Korea’s design industry, but the largest irregular architecture in the world. Designed by Zaha Hadid and Korean firm Samoo, the neofuturistic building is easily recognizable as a single architectural form from the outside, but contains three disconnected structures inside, making navigation difficult in this windowless spiral space. It includes five major halls and contains 37 shopping malls and 35,000 shops. It is also a venue for conventions, fashion shows, concerts, and performances.

Wayfinding for this vast space integrated a high level of digital and smart media. Created by YiEUM Partners in collaboration with Applied Wayfinding, the wayfinding system creates distinct pathways/routes for four major user groups: shoppers, tourists, design professionals, and leisure groups. Each color-coded system has a distinct information map that incorporates prioritized wayfinding information for that particular group. The map also includes the comprehensive connectivity of the structure and the surrounding environment, and as a result, segments local and regional maps and wayfinding information.

In designing the wayfinding system, priority was placed on how visitors understand the architectural characteristics of the building and how the building connects with the surrounding site. The system includes architectural exterior features and landscape characteristics in integrated guide information.

Since its opening in March 2014, more than 8.2 million visitors have experienced the center.

Jury Comments: 

“The super-complex environment is well served by this smartly integrated layer of graphics that borrows entirely from the existing architectural forms. In effect, no additive layers are deployed and the result has a finely integrated appearance.”

“An exquisite wayfinding system for an almost mind-bogglingly complex space. The information architecture is so intuitive that it's easy to miss what a difficult problem these designers solved. The detail and execution are very well done.”

“It is remarkable how the designers make use of the grid metallic panels of the building facade for a simple, elegant, and light representation on signage. The indoor signage looks intuitive, making use of minimalistic and pleasing aesthetics. The design of the outdoor and indoor elements seem highly coherent.”

Design Firms: 

YIEUM Partners


Seoul Design Foundation

Location City: 


Project Area: 

931,875 sq ft

Open Date: 

March 2014

Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Wonsoek Lee, Youngchae Park (©Seoul Design Foundation & YiEUM Partners Consortium)

Design Team: 

Kijun Park, Yoonkyung Choi, Jang won Ahn (principals in charge); Jongwon Baek, Kookhyun Chong, Samchul Park, Jinbae Park, Sanghyun Lee (Seoul Design Foundation); Dongchan Seo, Daeho Kim, Yeongwoong Cheong, Yonghwan Lee, Keumsik Hwang, Kihyung Kim, Youngmin Kim (creative directors); Seongyul Park, Jungwon Choi, Moonsung Chea, Sungwon Choi, Sechol Oh (project managers); Changsuk Yoo, Jiyeon Jang, Jinyoung Park, Yong bae Park, Minsoo Lee, Younghoon Choi (design team)


Applied Wayfinding (wayfinding)


eeung, Cheil AD (static signage), LG CNS (digital signage)

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