A Skincare Boutique for the Modern Traditionalist

Teo Yang Studio redefines Korean traditions in EATH Library, where centuries-old medicines are reinterpreted as contemporary skincare products

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EATH Library is the brainchild of Seoul-based designer Teo Yang, who’s best known for translating Korean heritage into a contemporary aesthetic. With a global background and experience working with top local and international design companies, Yang is channelling the future of contemporary design based on traditional Korean heritage.

Yang’s idea to launch a contemporary skincare brand based on traditional Korean medicine actually came from his own experience with a mild health issue some years ago. Suffering from insomnia and having already tried many remedies, Yang decided to visit a traditional medicine practitioner, who prescribed a special tea formula for him to drink. After six months, not only was he cured of insomnia but the condition of his skin had improved drastically as well. Following this experience, Yang eventually partnered with his Korean doctor to launch EATH Library in December 2018.

‘When you think about Korean culture today, especially cosmetic brands, everything is incredibly fast paced and it’s all about celebrating change and innovation. With this project, I wanted to do something unique,’ Yang explains. ‘It’s my goal for people to experience our brand in a more thoughtful and cultural way, starting with the walk through historical landmarks even before stepping foot inside the showroom.  When you’re inside the store, what you’ll see are things like an old Korean hanok, an old tree — it all comes together to create a memorable, authentic experience.’

Every detail at EATH (Evolutionary Achievement from Traditional Heritage) Library’s brick and mortar store, located in the historic Samcheong neighbourhood, references Korean cultural heritage. Yang’s primary focus in creating the brand was the actual production and craft of the skincare products, so he wanted the interior design to reflect this aspect. The traditional pinewood furniture was made by local artisans and produced in the original red bean colour rarely seen today. Two moon-shaped windows — a nod to traditional moon jars — elegantly echo the Korean minimalist aesthetic, while other traditional aspects come in the form of hanji paper screen partitions in the showroom area, which create another light, ethereal experience, and stacks of old Korean books, some topped with precisely placed granite stones and others placed amongst ceramic vessels. 

‘Korean traditional medicine is yet another topic that can be translated into a modern language. This project was an especially important one for me, as I believe designers should never limit themselves to doing only interiors, architecture, products or furniture. I want to introduce our traditional medicine on a global level, and even more so since it’s slowly becoming obsolete. I feel it’s my job to make tradition a living thing and give it a contemporary platform,’ Yang concludes.

Text / Irene Lam 
Images / Courtesy of Teo Yang Studio

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Issue 22

The Korea Edition

Introducing issue 22, Design Anthology’s annual edition dedicated to exploring a single country’s design scene. This year, we've focused on Korea’s vibrant and eclectic creative community.

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