CREATIVE HUBS: SEOUL
It’s hard to keep up with Seoul. A hub of futuristic technology, infectious K-pop culture and a super-cool youth, the city’s international reputation is based on innovation and style. From music and food to business and science, the South Korean capital is making waves across the globe – there’s even a part of New York Fashion Week dedicated to its talent.
In fact, fashion is a good place to start. With a trademark look linked with clean lines and androgyny, Seoul is making a serious bid to overtake Tokyo as Asia’s fashion capital. In recent years, over 170,000 jobs have been generated within Seoul’s design industry, and nearly one third of these opportunities lie within fashion. Around 73 percent of Korean designers are concentrated in the capital, with Blindness, Nohant and Kimmy J being just three rising stars.
The healthy state of fashion in Seoul is a microcosm of the design sector at large. Unesco designated the metropolis a City of Design in 2010, and since then the civic government has made an effort to introduce design studios with commercial projects in order to drive innovation. The world-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) was conceptualised by Zaha Hadid Architects and is home to a museum, art hall, library and lab. Located in one of the busiest business districts, the cultural mega-centre has reinvigorated its surroundings.
Seoul sprawls and spreads itself out along the banks of the Han River. Luckily, navigation is easy, as the subway is spotless and cheap (you’ll find almost every station is home to a shopping mall, and the airport even has its own golf course). The area of Gangnam (put on the international map thanks to the K-Pop hit Gangnam Style) is home to high-end shops and critically acclaimed restaurants, while Mapo district is the heart of young Seoul. Here you’ll find independent cafés, the Hongdae club district and the city’s most renowned art school.
South Korea is often overshadowed by the drama of its sibling to the north. But with innovative design and a forward-thinking mindset, Seoul is destined to receive its fair share of the spotlight.
WHERE TO STAY
로비를 들어서자 마자 보이는 강아지 때문에 개깜놀! 하셨다구요? 노 서프라이즈! 남녀노소, 개나소나, 세상에서 가장 평등한 격식 없는 호텔을 지향합니다. 당신이 당신의 ‘Life’를 사랑하게 될때까지 계속 쭉!! 왜냐면 #우리는#어반라이프스타일호텔이니까 #강아지가무서워도 #개전용엘리베이터 #있음 #괜찮음 #이동할땐개모차 #다신경썼다 #호텔카푸치노 #서울 #바크룸 #개스타그램 #애견용품 #어반라이프스타일제품 . 더 자세한 사진이 궁금하다면 hotelcappuccino 페이스북에서 확인! . Did the dog at our lobby surprise you? No worries! We have a #dogelevator and a #dogcarriage so, those of you who are scared of dogs won’t be frightened! What we’re trying to do in #Seoul is to make #hotelcappuccino a more free and casual hotel and everyone who comes here will be served equally! Even Dogs! because Hotel Cappuccino is an #urbanlifestylehotel #dogfriendlyrooms #barkroom #doggoods #onsale #lobby #dogstagram #urbanlifestyle . Check out our Facebook page (hotelcappuccino) for more pictures!!
Hotel Cappuccino has been lauded as Asia’s answer to Ace Hotel, thanks to its sleek and modern design. The real selling-point, however, is the establishment’s commitment to social responsibility. If guests don’t open the amenity box in their room and opt to take the stairs instead of the lift, they receive an “angel coupon”, which can be turned into a charitable donation or free coffee.
IP Boutique Hotel
This boutique hideaway is located in the heart of Seoul’s entertainment district. IP’s interiors are as bright as the vibrant tower in which it is housed – look out for bold contemporary artworks and quirky furniture.
GLAD Hotel Yeouido
GLAD Hotel Yeouido is located in a neighbourhood nicknamed Manhattan for its skyscrapers, and is the only hotel in Seoul to be a member of Design Hotels. Inside, Bar Mark T offers the most impressive selection of whiskey in the city.
The Shilla Seoul
An East-meets-West vibes reigns supreme at the Shilla, which has a number of rooms facing out to Namsan Mountain. Ease away aches and pains at The Guerlain spa, which is overseen by Paris-trained therapists, or swim a few laps in the outdoor pool.
WHAT TO SEE
The aA Museum
Situated in the young-minded area of Hongdae, this five-storey space is home to a café, museum and furniture showroom. You’ll find Scandinavian chairs alongside vintage lamps from 19th-century France (and everything in between).
The Some Sevit
This chain of three interconnected and manmade islands comes into its own at night, when the banks of the Han River are alight. The Some Sevit is reputed to be the world’s first floating cultural space – spend an evening perusing the restaurants, bars and galleries on offer.
Designed by Zaha Hadid architects, this hulking landmark is made from 45,000 aluminum panels and acts as a hub for art, design and technology. It is also home to a landscaped park, which provides a rare pop of green in the city.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Seoul is a city of street food, and one of the staple snacks is a type of rice cake covered in chili sauce known as tteokbokki. In the neighbourhood of Jung there’s a whole road dedicated to the sweet and spicy dish – cook your own or order one pre-made.
This luxury food court is located in the basement of the prestigious Galleria Department Store. After a long day of shopping, refuel on dumplings at Cheonjin Poja or eclairs and macaroons at Hotel Douce.
The buzzy district of Hongdae is home to traditional pubs, terraces and cocktail emporiums. Try the laid-back Brown Club if you’re into hip-hop and R&B; however, Club Naked is your best bet if you’re looking for a more high-octane experience.