© Dirty Trunk

Immerse in Senses and Likes - New-Concept Cultural Spaces in Seoul
Our time is valuable, and winter is too cold to stay outdoors. Let’s head to a place offering more than just one experience. We’ll look into six cultural spaces in Seoul.
© 사운즈 한남

© SOUNDS Hannam

스틸북스 © 사운즈 한남

Still Books © SOUNDS Hannam

세컨드키친 © 사운즈 한남

Second Kitchen © SOUNDS Hannam

Finding Rest and Happiness in Everyday Life, SOUNDS Hannam
Simply by eating good food, reading, checking out favorite stores, and taking a walk along an alley could make your everyday life happier and fuller. It is not too different from the kind of experience or emotion we wish to find at a cultural space in the heart of a city. SOUNDS Hannam pursues a concept of an urban resort that can offer rest and happiness in our living quarters without going to a seaside resort. After thinking about an urban oasis, SOUNDS Hannam suggests several spaces that would help us discover a new concept of rest in everyday life.
SOUNDS Hannam consists of five small buildings. Having varying heights and aspects, the cluster of buildings naturally created small alleys that lead passers-by to stores located in the cultural complex. The Sounds Hannam stores range in the categories of culture, food, and lifestyle. In particular, the complex allows a considerable space for cultural activities involving books, music, and art. Under the motto of “medium-scale bookstore with perspectives,” a four-story bookstore named “Still Books” stands in the center of the complex. In the same building is “Orfeo,” a music lounge run by Ode, a distributor of high-end audio system and record label. Opened in 1983 in Pyeongchang-dong, northern Seoul, GanaArt launched its second gallery in the complex. One of the ways to get inspired is through books, and Still Books is a perfect space for it. The bookstore also offers a chance to listen to various voices. In-store programs including meeting with authors, book readings, and lectures often take place. Check out the bookstore’s Instagram page and find more information on its programs including a talk with reporters for brand documentary publication "Magazine B" and other inspiring cultural programs that are regularly held there.
“Ilhochic,” a Korean-based homemade style restaurant, and “Second Kitchen,” a dining restaurant, bakery & deli cafe “Quartet,” and wine bar “Last Page” will give you a satisfactory epicurean experience. In the lifestyle category, skin-care brand Aesop is recommended. With a unique concept for each shop, Aesop follows its brand design principle of conforming to the local community. It will be interesting to compare how the SOUNDS Hannam shop differs from other Aesop shops.
Address 35 Daesagwan-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-2-511-7443
2층 챕터원 에디트 쇼룸 © 챕터원

Second-floor showroom at chapter 1 Edit © chapter 1

2, 3층 챕터원 에디트 쇼룸 © 챕터원

Showrooms on the second and third floors at chapter 1 Edit © chapter 1

1층 파운드로컬 © 챕터원

Found Local on the first floor © chapter 1

Uniquely Asian Sensibility in Cultural Space, chapter1 Edit
In order to find the location of chapter1 Edit, you type in the name in the green search box on the web. There are two words that pop up along with the name “chapter1 Edit” and its map. Arts and antiques. Somewhat odd descriptions of a commercial complex, one might think. (Something like “Chinese restaurant” and “interior design” would feel ordinary.) Besides, it’s allegedly a cultural complex! However, those who’ve ever visited chapter1 Edit will know the combination of arts and antiques is not so awkward. Chapter1 Edit is the third chain that was opened in 2018 by lifestyle boutique “chapter1” launched in 2013. The space reflects uniquely Asian sensibility and craft aesthetics, offering itself as a hub between the past and present, as well as craftsmanship and practicality.
Chapter1 Edit introduces itself as “a space suggesting a better lifestyle by studying life and culture under the motto of craftability and offering one-stop solutions for food, clothing, and shelter.” The shop expanded the field of living that was dealt with by chapter1 to all areas of living, enlarging the shop space into a four-story building. “Found Local” on the first floor presents a cafe and bistro service. On the second and third floors is the showroom displaying various craft items and furniture. Part of the third floor is designated as “X by seoul” where Europe-based independent fashion designers introduce their brands. “Gallery Doqument” features art exhibitions with seasonal themes.
Craft items and clothes selected by chapter1 Edit are beautiful in themselves. Made with craftsmanship, they sharpen your sense of fashion simply by being there in front of your eyes. Head down to “Found Local” if you want to hang out there a bit longer. A cafe by day and a bistro by evening, it is the first place you see when visiting chapter1 Edit. The cafe serves not just coffee but Moroccan mint tea and Hodge blending tea in a ceramicware made by Korean artists. For dining, Korean-style meals are served with natural wine.
Address 65 Naruteo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-2-3447-8001
© 커먼그라운드

© 커먼그라운드

© 커먼그라운드


A Classic Example of Cultural Complex, COMMON GROUND
Over 200 blue shipping containers have arrived at Konkuk University Station in 2015. Nobody thought it would be possible to build a four-story shopping mall out of 200 containers in the middle of Seoul. The biggest pop-up mall in the world and first Korean container mall, COMMON GROUND has celebrated its fourth anniversary in 2019. In Seoul’s ever-changing market, the fact that a cultural complex has stood in one place for four years is rare. There have been changes in the stores occupying the container mall, but it helped the place to stay new. Located near a  university campus, it’s a young and vibrant space. You can easily see people taking photographs in front of the blue containers.
Fashion is the center of COMMON GROUND. The mall features various fashion brands based on subcultures and independent labels by new designers. Monthly pop-up stores are unique to COMMON GROUND. On the top floor of the mall are popular restaurants originated in Hongdae and Garosu-gil, giving you an opportunity to enjoy gourmet meals in the open-air terrace.
Book lovers must visit “Index,” a bookstore, poster shop and cafe in COMMON GROUND. Index aims to be a curated bookstore. As can be seen from the name(index means an alphabetical listing of words or topics with the corresponding page numbers for easy reference), the bookstore has curated its books according to the first letter of the topics being discussed. For example, W means “Woman.” In the split-level space, the 1.5th floor belongs to the cafe, where you can enjoy coffee with the view of the bookstore in front of you.
Address 200 Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-2-467-2747
© 성수연방

© Seongsu Yeonbang

천상가옥 © 성수연방

Cheonsang Gaok © Seongsu Yeonbang

띵굴스토어 © 성수연방

Thingool Store © Seongsu Yeonbang

“Hot Place” in Seongsu-dong, Seongsu Yeonbang
OTD Corporation, well-known for its space consulting using the concept of “select dining,” has transformed a deserted factory building in Seongsu-dong into a cultural complex. Seongsu Yeonbang is a so-called “hot place” in Seongsu-dong, which is going through its second renaissance thanks to new businesses opening up in the area including hip, trendy cafes, restaurants, and flagship stores. Seongsu Yeonbang features lifestyle “select shop” Thingool, curated bookstore Arc N Book, Changhwadang restaurant from Ikseon-dong, handmade caramel shop Index Caramel, and bakery cafe Cheonsang Gaok.
Among Seongsu Yeonbang tenants, Thingool Store is the trendiest right now. It’s a flea market-turned-offline store. Thingool Market used to be one of the biggest flea markets in Korea and now uses the commercial space as its permanent display area and store that is decorated like a real home. A bedroom, kitchen, study, and powder room are all filled with textiles, kitchenware, and accessories from various brands to give customers unique shopping experiences of selecting lifestyle items while thinking of their own homes as they walk around the store. When exhausted from all the shopping, head to Index Caramel(the only offline presence of the brand) for a taste of sweet handmade caramel, or go up to the rooftop cafe, Cheonsang Gaok, for a sip of its signature coffee and sweet cafe latte called “Pepper Honey.”
Seongsu Yeonbang consists of two buildings, A and B. The end of these red-brick buildings are connected through a bridge, and the center garden features a pavilion. It’s a symbolic structure of the complex, and always crowded with people who want to take a photograph in front of it. The space also holds exhibitions that invite customers to participate in, such as “Seongsu Snow Garden” and “Seongsu Spring Table” where participants can feel the season and be a part of it. Don’t forget to take a photograph in front of the pavilion before ending the tour of the complex.
Address 14 Seongsuiro 14-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-70-8866-0213
잔디마당 © 노들섬

Open Lawn © Nodeulseom

상공에서 바라본 노들섬 동쪽 뷰 © 노들섬

Nodeulseom east side © Nodeulseom

노들서가 © 노들섬

Nodeul Seoga © Nodelseom

Repurposing Deserted Island, Nodeulseom Nodeul Square
Did you know that there’s an island in the middle of the Han River? Nodeulseom is located under the Hangang Bridge connecting Ichon-dong in Yongsan and Noryangjin in Dongjak. It’s a man-made island created in the course of building an embankment on the sandy patch during the construction of the bridge. Since its formation through to the 1960s, it was a place where people can see the Han River up close and was always frequented by visitors. However, with the start of the 1968 river development plan, people stopped going to the island. After the repeated cancellations of development plans, the island was almost forgotten. Nearly 40 years afterwards, the Seoul Metropolitan Government bought the island to pursue new ways to develop it. The construction began in 2017 and finally this year, it was reopened to the public as a cultural complex featuring concert facilities.
An island where only birds used to stop to take a break amid thick bushes and reeds is now a gathering place for citizens and musicians. Encompassing an area of 120,000㎡, Nodeulseom offers a space for nature, music, books, and relaxation. The space largely consists of “Nodeul Square” housing a performance hall, restaurants, and lifestyle shops, and “Open Lawn” in a 3,000㎡ lot. For music-related facilities, there are “Live House,” a popular music concert hall with 456 seats, “Music Lounge: RYU” a comfortable place to listen to various music, and “Nodeul Office” for related businesses with on-site staff. In the music lounge is a “fermentation bar” run by hand-brewed makgeolli(rice wine) brand Boksoondoga, which is a must-visit place. “Plant Island” offers participatory gardening programs. A bookstore named “Nodeul Seoga” presents curated books by 15 independent publishers and three independent bookstores. It will be a perfect picnic destination in spring if you like to sit on the grassy yard and enjoy the view of the Han River.
Address 445 Yangnyeong-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-2-749-4500
© 더티트렁크

© 더티트렁크

© 더티트렁크

© Dirty Trunk

Giant Food Factory in Paju, Dirty Trunk
Known for the cluster of publishers, Paju, northern Gyeonggi Province, is home to various factories. What will be discussed here is not a real food factory, for your information. It is a large space that can accommodate up to 700 guests and still has a long waiting line every weekend. It’s Dirty Trunk, the trendiest restaurant in Paju right now. As can be guessed from its name, the restaurant is owned by six young chefs in their twenties with strong characters and enthusiasm. In a factory-like space over a 600-pyeong area, they offer a cafeteria-style kitchen, bakery, bar, and cafe. The steel beams of the split-level structure are exposed for an industrial look, and wooden tables, accessories, and various plants create a comfortable atmosphere. The energy of the young staff fills the air.
Their menu reveals their free-spiritedness and characteristics. Three-layered waffle with bacon and avocado and BLT sandwich garnished with homemade aioli dressing are more than enough for brunch and both have rich flavors. Their french toast with berry compote-topped cream has a mouthwatering visual. Daily-baked bread is also popular. According to its manager Na Da-yeon, they want to “offer a pleasant, new experience to customers.” The space will continue to serve as a cultural space dedicated for food as it hosts programs such as tea party and beer party.
Address 114 Jimok-ro, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
Phone +82-31-946-9283
December 2019 Editor:Kim Hyewon

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  • December 2019
  • Editor: Kim Hyewon
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