© Seoul Bund

Seoul Bund, Home of East Asian Treasures
The living brand Seoul Bund is “where the East Asian treasures bond.” It’s home to the most contemporary and ideal living products of Korea and Asia that you can think of.
Products at home are more than just physical objects. They can be the representation of a country’s cultural elements and they form the basis of our lifestyle. But if people walked into your house without knowing the country and took a look at things that fill your space, would they be able to tell they’re in Korea? Seoul Bund CEO Park Chan-ho, who spent his early years in China before returning to Korea and studying furniture design at university, must have posed a similar question in his mind. “Back then, all the materials of the design firms that we were studying came from Europe, and nothing was based in Korea or Asia. I think I felt that was problematic,” Park said. “And the living trends in Korea mostly took their cues from Northern Europe and other parts of the world. I felt we were losing our own identity. I decided someone had to promote products that represented our culture to the rest of the world.”
That’s how Seoul Bund came to place in 2015: first introducing the Asian design to the Korean living market dominated by the Northern European style, and then emerging as the unique brand that modernizes the traditional Korean craft and the new force in Asian living design.
전통을 현대적으로 재해석한 제품 시리즈 ‘서울번드 화’의 ‘옻칠 볼(공기 & 대접)’ 세트 © 서울번드

‘Lacquered Bowl (bowl & dish)’ set of the ‘Seoul Bund Hwa’ series, applying a contemporary touch to the Korean tradition © Seoul Bund

옻칠 볼은 9번의 칠을 거쳐 완성된다. © 서울번드

Lacquered bowl is lacquered nine times. © Seoul Bund

Collecting East Asian Treasures
Seoul Bund prides itself on being a place “where the East Asian treasures bond.” Seoul Bund unearths and sells living products by companies or designers in Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It has brought together countries that share a similar sense of aesthetics. “Think of it this way: how many people would be able to distinguish styles of different countries in Northern Europe from one another? And there aren’t that many people in Europe or North America who can tell the difference between styles in different Asian countries,” Park said. Thus, he decided it’d be better off to bring these East Asian brands together and he started selling quality products from the five aforementioned countries.
So how does Seoul Bund determine what constitutes “treasure” of East Asia? There are major categories such as aesthetic impressions and productivity, and there are also 51 more detailed criteria. Products are selected based on scores awarded in accordance with Seoul Bund’s own guidelines. In terms of Seoul Bund’s identity, products that have been there since Day 1 are the most important for Park. They form the core of the brand. For instance, Jia of Taiwan has been with Seoul Bund from its start. Jia makes products that are at once practical and beautiful, and they helped paint a picture on the state of living design in its country at the time. And products that are carefully selected by Seoul Bund have earned trust of consumers. In the early days, 90 percent of brands didn’t respond when Seoul Bund approached them about putting their goods on sale in Korea. Now, brands have to wait at least three months to get in. Seoul Bund has won over consumers and brands alike.
‘서울번드 화’의 유기 커틀러리 ‘라륀’ © 서울번드

‘La Lune,’ brass cutlery set of ‘Seoul Bund Hwa’ © Seoul Bund

유기 장인 이종오 명장 © 서울번드

Brassware artisan Lee Jong-oh © Seoul Bund

라륀은 이종오 명장과 송승용 디자이너의 협업으로 탄생했다. © 서울번드

Artisan Lee Jong-oh and designer Song Seung-yong collaborated on La Lune. © Seoul Bund

Connecting Korea’s Past with Present
When you’re searching for a gift or craftwork that’s distinctively Korean, you could never go wrong at Seoul Bund. It can serve as your curator, but it will also make some excellent products in collaboration with master craftsmen or designers. Seoul Bund’s first production is brass cutlery set ‘La Lune’ from ‘Seoul Bund Hwa’ line, a series of products inspired by the Korean tradition with a contemporary touch. The project connected a master craftsman who had been concentrating on production and a designer who wanted to create more practical value. Brassware artisan Lee Jong-oh and designer Song Seung-yong worked together for La Lune. And since it was the first project of its kind, there were challenges. “Not everyone was cooperative in the planning stages of La Lune. While searching for our brassware artisan, we were rejected by five places before meeting Lee Jong-oh,” Park said. “La Lune was introduced on a popular web portal site, and I remember reading a comment that read, ‘This is not tradition.’ We had a difficult start, but other brands have since come up with similar items. It has all expanded the brassware market, and I felt really proud.” La Lune is one of Seoul Bund’s signature products. Seoul Bund Hwa has also made hanbok-inspired apron ‘ATO’ and table mat with patterns of chaekgado (paintings of books and associated objects).
한복을 모티브로 한 앞치마 ‘아토’ © 서울번드

Hanbok-inspired apron ‘ATO’ © Seoul Bund

오유글라스워크와 함께한 ‘서울번드 코워크’의 수저받침 © 서울번드

Spoon rests by ‘Seoul Bund Cowork’ in collaboration with OU Glasswork © Seoul Bund

Park pores over data to figure out what consumers would want from Seoul Bund. That led to the birth of ‘Seoul Bund Cowork,’ which makes products that cater to consumers’ demands in Seoul Bund’s own, unique ways. “Some people may find craftwork unapproachable. But our consumers take a great interest in our craftworks,” Park said. “And we introduced a lot of young artists and brands that wanted to reach out to consumers in more open fashion. I think we were able to find the middle ground. We managed to put out things that had all the fingerprints of the artist and were still easy to use.” By sharing its consumer data with young artists, Seoul Bund allowed them to create products that could best showcase their styles. Spoon rests in collaboration with ‘OU Glasswork,’ ‘Ottott,’ ‘Harta’ and ‘Ottnaeum’ are some of the most popular items by Seoul Bund Cowork. Seoul Bund Hwa and Seoul Bund Cowork have been making goods that have traditional elements while also easily finding their ways into the contemporary Asian and Western lifestyles.
박찬호 대표 © 서울번드

CEO Park Chan-ho © Seoul Bund

“Seoul Bund is a brand that highlights Asian lifestyles. Our goal is to show all different types of lifestyles that can be found in Asia.”
Interview with CEO Park Chan-ho
Here’s our interview with Seoul Bund CEO Park Chan-ho, a trailblazer in the Korean living design market with a brilliant vision and entrepreneurship that satisfies consumer tastes and needs.
Q. What was your goal when you launched Seoul Bund?
A. My biggest objective was to promote living products that represented the traditions and cultures of Asia. There wasn’t any brand that sold East Asian living products, and so I was convinced I’d be successful. At the time, people said I should just import things from Northern or Western Europe because it was more lucrative, and said Asian products weren’t going to sell.

Q. What is it about East Asian design that you find so attractive?
A. I like the materials that we use and how we process them here in East Asia. Look at brass and lacquering in Korea, bar wood and zisha ware in China and tatami in Japan. There are a lot of interesting things around here.
옻칠 브랜드 ‘옻내음’의 트레이 © 서울번드

Tray by lacquerware brand ‘Ottnaeum’ © Seoul Bund

‘SB 클래식’의 ‘자사호’ 다기 세트. 중국 의홍 지역에서 생산되는 자줏빛 흙으로 제작했다. © 서울번드

‘Yixing clay teapot’ set by ‘SB Classic.’ It was made with purple clay from Yixing, China. © Seoul Bund

서울번드에서 선보이는 ‘하르타’의 소반과 ‘토림도예’의 다기 © 서울번드

‘Harta’ portable dining table and pottery by ‘Torim Ceramic’ © Seoul Bund

Q. Seoul Bund covers a wide spectrum, from products by young Korean designers to crafts by artisans. How were you able to develop such far-reaching interest?
A. As a child growing up in Shanghai, I was exposed to Chinese artisans and European brands at an early age. My mother always had interest living products and collected them, and she had a major influence on me. I got to see a great number of occasions where antiques and modern products mingled with one another, and I enjoyed their vibes.

Q. How did you first take interest in Korean traditional crafts?
A. I was thinking about the contemporary lifestyle of Korean people, and it led me back to the past. I wondered about what defined Korean design and also tried to decide whether Northern European furniture and products really fit into the Korean lifestyle. As I was trying to come up with a brand that had a Korean identity, I naturally developed an interest in Korean traditional crafts.
서울번드 초창기부터 함께한 대만 리빙 브랜드 지아의 스티머 © 서울번드

Steamer by the Taiwanese living brand Jia, which has been with Seoul Bund from the start © Seoul Bund

Q. What are some of the products and brands that you’re keeping an eye on?
A. Personally, I am quite interested in modular furniture. I’d like to see a brand making modular furniture that fits into Korean homes. And though we sell Asian products at Seoul Bund, I’d ultimately like to promote Korean culture and our living products. I just want to see more quality brands from this country.

Q. We have quite a few shops and galleries that sell craftworks and traditional pieces with modern twists. How has Seoul Bund been able to survive in that market?
A. We don’t just sell craftworks. We sell other things, too, and I think that makes a huge difference. A lot of craftspeople that work with us do some wonderful things, and we always try to come up with ways that can best showcase their talent. Also, it’s important to offer practical items that consumers want at a reasonable price.
라륀의 제작 과정 © 서울번드

Making La Lune © Seoul Bund

Q. In the early days, you mostly sold kitchenware and tableware. And now you’re also selling furniture, bedding and even food. Is there any particular reason for that expansion?
A. Seoul Bund is a brand that highlights Asian lifestyles. Our goal is to show all different types of lifestyles that can be found in Asia. For the future, I am also thinking about going beyond products and expanding into areas of experience. This year, we’re trying to get more people around the world to enjoy Asian products and contents at our online shop.

Q. How would you define Seoul Bund now?
A. It’s a living brand, just like IKEA and Crate & Barrel.
Three Seoul Bund Products, Recommended by CEO Park Chan-ho
Borne out of some wild imagination? Selling like a hot cakes? Or showing the distinctive Korean beauty? Pick any of these three and you’ll be happy that you did.
공간 디자인 스튜디오 ‘WGNB’와 협업한 풀 컵 & 푸쉬 컵 © 서울번드

Pull Cup & Push Cup, in collaboration with space design studio ‘WGNB’ © Seoul Bund

PULL CUP & PUSH CUP | It’s a goblet by Seoul Bund in collaboration with WGNB. It came from the question, ‘What happens to a cup if you pull it and push it?’ It comes in two sets of design, and you can pour anything from water to wine and beer into it.
‘하트인세라믹스’의 오케이 인센스 홀더 © 서울번드

OK Incense Holder by ‘Heart in Ceramics’ © Seoul Bund

OK Incense Holder by ‘Heart in Ceramics’ | Australia-based artist Jung Ji-young built this incense holder inspired by the Buddhist hand sign. Each holder has different hand signs and details, with the artist wanting to create ‘one and only’ pieces. The popular incense holders are often sold out as soon as they’re restocked.
‘나은 크라프트’의 차꽃문 타원형 옻칠 트레이 © 서울번드

‘나은 크라프트’의 차꽃문 타원형 옻칠 트레이 © 서울번드

Oval Lacquered Tray with Tea Flower Decoration by ‘Naun Craft’ © Seoul Bund

Oval Lacquered Tray with Tea Flower Decoration (gray) by ‘Naun Craft’ | Naun Craft has been in najeon chilgi (lacquerware inlaid with mother-of-pearl) business for 43 years. The green tea flower in mother-of-pearl pattern goes well with the soft tone of the lacquer to create uniquely Korean beauty. It’s available exclusive at Seoul Bund.

Seoul Bund
March 2021 Editor:Kim Hyewon

Where to stay?

  • March 2021
  • Editor: Kim Hyewon
  • 트위터로 공유
  • 페이스북으로 공유
  • 핀터레스트로 공유
  • 링크URL 공유