Cultural Complexes at Forefront of Busan’s Cultural Development
Opening of cultural complexes, the one-stop destination serving a wide range of purposes and functions, is always a welcome sight. F1963 and AREA6, newly opened in Busan, will bear watching.
Tate Modern in London and Novaya Gollandiya in St. Petersburg are prime examples of long-forgotten factories or worn-down buildings being reborn as cultural destinations, places that also revitalized their neighborhoods.
You can’t be bringing new things into your city all the time. Sometimes, you have to tweak what’s already there, or make it more interesting. F1963 and AREA6, two emerging hot places in Busan, can show you how old buildings can be revived with a touch of art and culture.

View of F1963 and Kiswire

Aerial view of F1963

Eco-friendly walking paths can be found in different places.

F1963, How a Wire Manufacturing Plant Became a Culture Producing Plant
There once stood a factory in Mangmi-dong in Busan’s Suyeong-gu that manufactured wire ropes for over 40 years. The plant stayed in the business until 2008. And once its parent company, Kiswire, moved production equipment, the factory went through a complete makeover. In partnership with Busan Cultural Foundation, the plant was reborn as a massive cultural complex.
Busan Biennale got the ball rolling. The old factory hosted the event in September 2014. The city and the business sector recognized that old factories could be transformed into a cultural destination, an eco-friendly place where art and culture could coexist.

Boksoondoga, the rice winery inside F1963

Terarosa Coffee inside F1963

The factory-turned-complex was named F1963. The alphabet “F” is from the word “factory,” and 1963 signifies the year in which Kiswire opened the plant. In 2016, the cultural space designed to host exhibitions and art performances first opened. The library and other facilities opened over the following years. It truly became the cultural complex in every sense of the word, serving multiple purposes and functions in one place. F1963 was built with the idea of creating an eco-friendly urban forest that can provide art and cultural content that people from all walks of life can enjoy.

Exhibition <Busan Returns> © Busan Cultural Foundation

Seokcheon Hall hosts art performances.

Visitors to the exhibition <Busan Returns>

Past and Present Coexist
F1963 has retained the original shape and frame of the old plant, while some renovation work was done to fit the purpose and features of a cultural complex.
Where the large crane that carried steel and wires once stood, a book tower was built. Some parts of the ceiling were removed and gave way to a courtyard. But not every old thing was thrown away at the expense of the new. To keep the past and the present together, original materials were recycled and reused. The old wooden truss that supported the factory helped make benches. The steel plate was turned into a sign. The backyard of the factory became a garden.

A performance being held in the courtyard

Inside F1963 are Seokcheon Hall, which hosts art exhibitions and art performances; F1963 Square, which holds a wide variety of cultural events and plays videos; and a library filled with books on art and culture. A motor studio by a local automaker opened at F1963 in April. There are also commercial spots: the first flagship store for a major online bookshop, a large gallery, a café, a craft beer brewery, a garden supplies shop, a traditional Korean restaurant and other dining places.
F1963 is the perfect epitome of a cultural complex, a one-stop destination for every cultural experience and joy you can find. On top of that, it is an eco-friendly place. It’s little wonder that F1963 is now one of the hottest places in Busan.

Address 20 Gurak-ro 123-beon gil, Suyeong-gu, Busan
Hours 09:00~24:00 daily (Visit the website for hours for different shops)

View of the Artisan Market / © AREA6

AREA6, Where Artisans of Busan Come Together
Artisans refer to people skilled in particular trade or craft, especially ones that involve hand skills. AREA6, located in Bongnae-dong, Yeongdo-gu, was built by artisans and for artisans.
The word ‘AREA’ takes the first ‘A’ from the word ‘artisans’ and the last ‘A’ from the word ‘avenue.’ The ‘RE’ was inspired by the word ‘recycle.’ The number ‘6’ refers to the number of house that once stood on the lot now occupied by AREA6. Local artists and artisans have turned breathed a new life into the area.

View of the second floor at AREA6 / photo by Yoon Tae-hoon @_yoonic

This used to be a bustling area, with the century-old Bongnae Market and the headquarters of Samjin Fishcake, the country’s oldest fishcake brand, sandwiching six homes. Those half-dozen houses were eventually left abandoned. Samjin Eeum, a nonprofit founded by Samjin Fishcake to help revive parts of the city, helped open AREA6 in February this year. It was built to inject new life the neighborhood.
A three-story building was erected to tower over the street around Bongnae market and those six old homes. It was meant to be a place where local artisans and residents could all come and mingle with one another.

View of the leather shop WSL Lounge © AREA6

Columnist, a select shop specializing in art posters © AREA6

Ineo Ajimae, a dried seafood shop © AREA6

Lighting Up Locals, Streets
AREA6 hosts shops by nine local brands, living up to its mantra of lighting up the locals. Those shops include: one for one of South Korea’s best-known towel brands; a bottling shop that sells Busan’s local liquors, a project shop that, in collaboration with local artisans, sells traditional crafts with a modern touch; a leather shop; and a dried fish shop.

Products by Chi Project, giving a contemporary twist to traditional crafts © AREA6

Products by Chi Project © AREA6

Products by M Market Store © AREA6

In addition to checking out these shops, you can also sign up for cultural programs at AREA6. The Artisan Street Market runs once each month, putting local handmade goods up for sale. You can attend classes on traditional crafts and tea parties. Performances, exhibitions and seminars will take place year round.
AREA6’s efforts to grow and expand local brands have naturally led to changes and development of Yeongdo. The increase in visitors to AREA6 has led to openings of bakeries and restaurants in the neighborhood, demonstrating that the area remains commercially viable.
Yeongdo is brightening up again.

Address 37-3 Taejong-no 105beon-gil, Yeongdo-gu, Busan
Hours 11:00~19:00 (closed on Mondays)
Instagram AREA6 

Located near the Seomyeon area, LOTTE HOTEL BUSAN offers a spectacular view of the city. Designed with contemporary sensibilities and flair, the hotel also brings you comfort with privacy. You can choose from some 650 rooms to fit the purpose of your trip and dine at a wide variety of restaurants, while creating special memories in the country’s largest port city.

SIGNIEL BUSAN is the second SINGIEL hotel after SIGNIEL SEOUL. It’s situated inside LCT Tower, the new landmark in Haeundae. The hotel with 260 rooms offers a breathtaking ocean view of Haeundae and Gwangan Bridge. SIGNIEL BUSAN serves dishes of highest quality, as prepared with the help of three Michelin-starred chef, Bruno Menard.

September 2021 Editor:Jung Jaewook

Where to stay?

  • September 2021
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Cooperation: F1963、AREA6
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