Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Euljiro-dong

Designed by Zaha Hadid, this silver-grey spaceship crash-landed in central Seoul in 2014. A massive cultural complex, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza hosts exhibitions, fashion shows and more.

Hadid’s design – which won a competition held by the government – mirrors the dynamic Dongdaemun area in its free-flowing curves (it’s the world’s largest 3D amorphous building). The cladding is made up of 45,000 aluminium panels, which look different depending on the time of day and year. Drop by at night and you’ll see them glow with the reflection of nearby neon signs. 

281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu
+82 (0)2 2153 0000

Cheonggyecheon, Seorin-dong

The path-lined stream that flows from the Cheonggye Plaza into the Hangang attracts walkers, picnickers and office-workers indulging in post-work drinks – but it wasn’t always so. In the 1940s the neglected waterway was little more than an open sewer, paved over in the 1950s as part of the government’s postwar economic development (and perhaps for sanitation purposes). Two decades later it was converted into a highway, which was removed to restore the stream in 2005.

The reclamation of the 11km-long waterway was plagued with controversy: culturally significant buildings were torn down in the process and critics warned that, without the overpass, traffic would spill into the inner-city. But the good outweighs the bad. The pedestrian-only space, which passes under 22 bridges, brings a soothing stamp of nature to a city that’s often accused of being too grey.

37 Mugyo-ro, Jongno-gu

TeoHome, Gye-dong

After working and travelling abroad, Teo Yang returned to Seoul in 2009 to start an interior-design practice. Three years later he established ceramics brand TeoHome and opened this shop-showroom in his private residence in the heart of low-rise Bukchon. 

Sandwiched between Changgyeonggung and Gyeongbokgung, the space is housed in two renovated early 20th-century hanok in a courtyard of pine trees. Yang preserved the original guise of the exteriors – complete with tiled roofs supported by wooden frameworks – while mixing things up inside. He finished the interior with clean white walls and placed his own furniture designs, with leather and bronze details, alongside ancient earthenware. Visits are by appointment only.

97-8 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu 
+82 (0)2 3672 2302

Images: Jun Michael Park

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Monocle 24

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  • The Pacific Shift