Pearl diving is an historical profession in South Korea, stretching back generations, and the pearl diver sculpture in Seoul's Lotte World Tower pays tribute to the romantic trade in spectacular fashion. The sculpture, which was designed by Czech lighting studio Lasvit, features hundreds of hanging glass balls that cluster together near the center to form the shape of a pearl diver swimming above the heads of those walking through Lotte World Tower's atrium.
Though the balls that make up the sculpture look translucent or opaque, the glass itself is actually completely clear. The balls get their smoky appearance during the manufacturing process, when breath is blown into each bubble while the glassblowers work.
The symbolism of the sculpture is twofold. For one, the balls look like pearls. Secondly, while diving, air bubbles collect and stick to the skin of the "haenyeo," as the South Korean divers are known.