Detail of a sidewalk mural in south korea
Waterfront Door/Into the Ocean mural located in Gwang-An-Ri, Busan, S.Korea. Courtesy Hoyeon Shin and JUNLEEPHOTOS

This Mural in South Korea Inspires Play While Maintaining Social Distancing

Milan-based architects Migliore + Servetto Architects have teamed up with Busan, South Korea, art gallery to transform a mundane concrete path into an ocean-inspired walkway mural.

Milan-based architect Ico Migliore of Migliore+Servetto Architects has teamed up with Busan, South Korea, gallery Art Sohyang and 40 local Korean artists to transform a mundane 1,640-foot concrete path along the city’s seaside into Waterfront Door/Into the Ocean, an ocean-inspired walkway mural. The result is a joyful mishmash of volumes, colors, and patterns that encourages people to walk, rest, and play while maintaining social distancing. Squares and circles are interspersed with hand-painted waves, jellyfish, sharks, octopuses, and other figurative marine life.

Part of a wider urban renewal initiative led by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST), Migliore’s distinctive design intends to reshape the community’s thinking about public spaces and support the city’s creative sector following the pandemic. “For me, color and patterns are not just about decoration or beauty; they establish a dialogue between people and nature. We want people of all ages to feel happy there,” Migliore says.

We want to encourage people to use space in different ways—to experience art and nature, and to think and dream.

Ico Migliore
Waterfront Door/Into the Ocean mural located in Gwang-An-Ri, Busan, S.Korea. Courtesy Hoyeon Shin and JUNLEEPHOTOS

Graphism on an architectural scale and a combination of contrasting, complicated patterns and motifs are common themes in the architect’s work. Here, the greatest challenge was to design the repeated shapes and proportions to fit the scale and curve of the walkway, calibrating them to make the simple yet engaging and expressive painting resonate when viewed close-up and from a distance.

The vivid installation includes a series of 6.7-by-6.7-inches and 13-by-13-foot thematic squares in bright clashing colors that provide focal points and make social distancing easier.

Most importantly, Migliore, who is also a chair professor at the College of Design at Busan Dongseo University and a professor at Polytechnic University of Milan hopes the new promenade will become a “collective home” for Busan residents. “We want to encourage people to use space in different ways—to experience art and nature, and to think and dream. Since the pandemic, these things are more important than ever,” Migliore says.

Waterfront Door/Into the Ocean mural located in Gwang-An-Ri, Busan, S.Korea. Courtesy Hoyeon Shin and JUNLEEPHOTOS

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