Hannam-dong has long been considered one of the best residential areas in Seoul, conveniently located at the heart of the city, flanked by Mt. Namsan and the Han River. Located near Itaewon, a well-known and ethnically diverse area, Hannam-dong has remained primarily a foreign residential area, while preserving its unique and cozy atmosphere.
However, with the recent opening of Comme des Garçons’s artsy flagship store and the rise of other modern architectural features in the area, more travelers and curious Seoulites are visiting Hannam-dong‘s new shopping and art centers.
Leeum (747-18, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, www.leeum.org)
Located in a hilly residential area, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art an impressive collection of cultural treasures and modern works of art in its innovative complex, designed by three of the world’s most internationally acclaimed architects: Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas.
Artworks on display include everything from historic Korean Buddhist paintings and celadon to masterpieces by Mark Rothko, Gerhardt Richter and Nam June Paik.
With both contemporary and modern works, the exhibits demonstrate Korea’s rich culture and heritage. Leeum is holding a special exhibition entitled, “Memories of the Future.” It showcases cutting-edge works by Korean and international artists, including Sophie Calle, Michael Lin, Shin Meekyoung, Gimhongsok and Jackson Hong.
“Memories of the Future” runs through Feb. 13. You’ve got three more days! Do not miss this wonderful exhibition!
Comme des Garçons Flagship Store Hannam (739-1 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul)
Last August, Comme des Garçons opened its first Korean flagship store to house all 13 Comme des Garçons lines.
Designed by Rei Kawakubo, who launched the brand in 1981 with the “Paris” collection, the new building features the brand’s iconic dotty glass façade. Kawakubo’s avant-garde designs are beautifully displayed in the retail spaces. Its seven stories are linked by sloping tunnels where special products and “not-for-sale” hats designed by Stephen Jones are displayed.
Comme des Garçons also has a bakery on the ground floor. The basement houses the SIX Gallery and admission is free.
b_shop (739-4 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, www.parkplusyoo.com)
b_shop is a concept store run by fashion designer and visual marketing director Park Suuwu and architect Ehwa Yoo.
The store wants to promote a new modern Korean lifestyle through a space where organic gastronomy and eco-friendly fashion merge.
Aside from the wonderfully decorated restaurant, the project space offers a wide range of designer arts and crafts which combine the essence of Korean traditional crafts with modern styles.
The concept store also has the newest SUUWU collections by Park Suuwu. SUUWU launched in 2009, and blends Korean traditional aesthetics with modern styles.
What makes SUUWU special is its use of Hanji, a traditional Korean mulberry paper, as the basis for a wearable modern garment.
Meanwhile, b_shop organized its first art exhibition in August 2010, a solo show by Itami Jun called “Prototype,” and plans to host more exhibitions in the future.
Takeout Drawing (683-139 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, www.takeoutdrawing.com)
Project Space Takeout Drawing is a multifunctional cultural space serving up both organic fair-trade coffee and a creative environment.
The café also functions as an exhibition space where everyday life coincides with arts and culture in a sustainable way.
So far, it has hosted 25 exhibitions and run residency programs giving artists two months to use the space to create their works.
Unlike other institutionalized art residency programs, the process here integrates the audience/consumers who visit the café. At the end of the residency program, the works created during that time are exhibited in the café.
Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, be sure to swing by and discover the artistic delights of Hannam-dong!