Posts tagged Seoul
Wandering Sentimentalist

Korean photographer Kim Woo Young talks about his path to becoming an artist and why he chooses an analogue approach

Kelbaker Road , 121cm x 156cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017  Kim wrapped this dilapidated house in orange tinted wrapping to give a sense of hope to the abandoned structure.

Kelbaker Road, 121cm x 156cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017

Kim wrapped this dilapidated house in orange tinted wrapping to give a sense of hope to the abandoned structure.

김우영.jpg

Kim Woo Young is a South Korean artist who is based out of Seoul and Los Angeles. His photography art has been widely exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Japan and Korea, and is also included in collections at several major art museums in Seoul. Here, he speaks with Irene Lam about his background and the inspiration and intentions that inform his artistic practice.

Irene Lam: Can you share a specific memory or talk about what it was like growing up in Korea in the 60s/70s?

Kim Woo Young: I was born and raised in Busan, a port city located in South Korea, in the 1960s. At that time, Busan wasn’t such an easy city to live in as it was undergoing a lot of political, social and economic changes, but my memories of growing up there as a young boy mostly revolve around nature — from the smell of the sea to the ambient sights and sounds of the countryside. That all changed when I had to move to Seoul for middle and high school. Seoul was so different, and was undergoing serious industrialisation and political upheaval. Personally, there was a sense of displacement for me as I was trying to figure out how my future would unfold. I remember spending many days and nights wandering along the Han River Bridge feeling sentimental, realising that I needed to find an outlet to express myself creatively and artistically. Before entering university, I was drawn to artists, musicians and photographers and was deeply influenced by their stories and experiences. 

Bagley Avenue , 122cm x 122cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017  In the eyes of the artist, the exterior of this empty building in an isolated town represents how industrialisation can suddenly make things obsolete, with humans as the culprits of this kind of decimation.

Bagley Avenue, 122cm x 122cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017

In the eyes of the artist, the exterior of this empty building in an isolated town represents how industrialisation can suddenly make things obsolete, with humans as the culprits of this kind of decimation.

What drew you into the field of fine art photography?

I first studied Urban Design and Industrial Design at Hongik University in Seoul from 1979 to 1986.  My inner circle of friends were all artists at that time so I was quite immersed within the arts scene and tried to learn as much as I could about experimental movies, music and art. However, I still felt a need to find the right channel for myself. Being an urban design student, I would take a lot of photos of buildings and streets for environmental projects, and that had a big influence on my interest in photography. Another reason is that with photography, you don’t need to rely on others to create your images.  So, that’s the reason why after my studies in Seoul I decided to move to New York to study photography at the School of Visual Arts.  And from then, I began my journey in discovering the profound elements of photography as an artistic medium.

E. 6th Street , 170cm x 140cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017  This image is perhaps the most representative of Kim Woo Young’s works. The colour covering the wall surface and lines connecting the street are the focus of an unexpected aesthetic consequence that empowers his photographs.

E. 6th Street, 170cm x 140cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017

This image is perhaps the most representative of Kim Woo Young’s works. The colour covering the wall surface and lines connecting the street are the focus of an unexpected aesthetic consequence that empowers his photographs.

Can you share some thoughts about your work?

I’d like to think of my works as not so much an experiment attaching a concrete message but rather an attempt to show the possibilities for a new interpretation of a city or nature scene by providing a direct visual experience. The camera simply acts as a tool to capture a place of meaning. I always like to shoot my subjects in natural light, and preferably in the early morning hours so that there are no deliberate shadows. In fact, I find more depth in an ‘analogue perspective’. In today’s digital age, some might say that I am missing the point, but I feel that in a world so crowded by digital, we sometimes need a break from it all. My images always try to stay unaffected.

You have dedicated and committed most of your life to photography, encompassing all its communicable aspects from commercial, documentary and aesthetic. How do you see the next stage of career unfolding? 

After having established myself as a photographer in Korea and the US, I will continue to develop myself and hope that my works can be accessible to viewers in more countries around the world. I have been travelling to Tibet since 2010 and my next project is to share those images in a published book. I want to bring more of a global perspective to my work. I will always have a bit of sentimentalism in me but now I know where I should be and where my next steps will take me.

As told to / Irene Lam
Images / Courtesy of Kim Woo Young

Olvera Street , 125cm x 188cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017  One major characteristic in Kim’s photographs is the colourful radiance and flow of lines on the surface of buildings and street walls.

Olvera Street, 125cm x 188cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017

One major characteristic in Kim’s photographs is the colourful radiance and flow of lines on the surface of buildings and street walls.

CGWC image , 125cm x 188cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017  Rather than intervening or excessively manipulating photographs, Kim focuses on capturing the unique characteristics of buildings in their original environment.

CGWC image, 125cm x 188cm, Archival Pigment Print, 2017

Rather than intervening or excessively manipulating photographs, Kim focuses on capturing the unique characteristics of buildings in their original environment.

RYSE Hotel

London-based Michaelis Boyd and SCAAA have teamed up to design this building in the creative neighbourhood Hongdae, creating the interior and exterior respectively. RYSE, a member of the Autograph Collection, is a new lifestyle hub that goes above and beyond merely giving lip service to the term. The development has successfully incorporated retail spaces, an art gallery, a print culture-inspired lounge, a rooftop bar, a coffee bar and an outpost of Aussie chef David Thompson’s modern Thai restaurant Long Chim. Design elements take inspiration from the Korean landscape and have a fresh feel, making RYSE a comfortable base for business travellers and holiday makers alike.

Heart & Seoul

Design Anthology’s top five for where to stay in the Korean capital

RYSE  Image by Yongkwan Kim

RYSE
Image by Yongkwan Kim

 
RYSE  Image by Yongkwan Kim

RYSE
Image by Yongkwan Kim

1
RYSE

Situated in the heart of one of Seoul’s most youthful and vibrant neighbourhoods is RYSE — a member of the Autograph collection. The SCAAA-designed tower has Instagram-friendly interiors by London-based Michaelis Boyd who were inspired by the natural contrasts of the Korean landscape. Embracing their locale — the heart of Seoul’s publishing community and the home to one of the city’s art schools — the hotel has incorporated a decidedly old school print and artsy bent to their facilities and events program. An in-house team used a vintage risograph machine to create much of the in-room art collection, there’s a vinyl stamping machine for musicians to lay down tracks, the lobby ‘print culture lounge’ has a collection of hard to find indie titles, respected local gallery Arario has an outpost in the basement and room types include the ‘editors’ room, to the ‘producers’ suite. A great home away from home in the Korean capital for the young at heart, and those that value all things art.

130 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul; tel: +82 2 330 7700

 

2
Four Seasons, Seoul

For a luxurious indulgence in South Korea's capital city, look no further than the Four Seasons, Seoul. Mindful of Korean architecture's ever-conscious relationship with its environment, LTW Designworks — who handled the interior design — strove for material harmony.  Thus, translucent back-lit panels cast soft light across the space and co-conspire with a palette of muted earth tones to create a sense of lightness and openness throughout — helped also by the fact that rooms here are the largest in the city. The hotel’s anchor restaurants — Kioku serving Japanese and Yu Yuan serving Chinese — were designed by André Fu and are destinations in their own right.

97 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul; tel: +82 2 6388 5123

Four Seasons, Seoul

Four Seasons, Seoul

 
The Shilla Seoul

The Shilla Seoul

3
The Shilla Seoul

The Shilla Seoul is a veritable institution. Constructed in 1973 and occupying a prominent hilltop position in the centre of the city, it stood as a pinnacle of progress as the country rebuilt. Under the direction of Peter Remedios, interiors have recently seen a full update, now dominated by soothing beige and taupe tones. The property’s traditional hanok is a popular venue for weddings, and Korean restaurant La Yeon — one of eight dining outlets — was awarded three stars in last year’s inaugural Michelin Guide for Seoul.

249, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul; tel: +82 2 2233 3131

 

4
GLAD Hotel

The only DESIGN HOTELS member property in Seoul, GLAD Hotel guarantees a classy stay in a design-fringed atmosphere.  The brand has two branches, one in hip Gangnam and another in Yeouido — Seoul’s financial district — with the latter offering luxuriously spacious rooms in a city facing ever-smaller hotel rooms. Ultra-comfortable beds, Italian designed Artemide lighting and a subdued, grayscale colour scheme with dark walnut flooring combine for a restful environment, ideal for a recharge.  A business lounge, gym and ground-floor restaurant and cafe round out the offerings.

16 Uisadang-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul; tel: +82 2 6222 5000

GLAD Hotel

GLAD Hotel

 
Hotel Cappuccino

Hotel Cappuccino

5
Hotel Cappuccino

Conceived as a reflection of the growing importance attached by young millennials to sharing and communal values — and as an attempt to embody these in the realm of travel — Hotel Cappuccino offers a young and casual ambience. It also offers the unique amenity of suites where owners can host their furry friends, replete with a personalised chew toy at check-in and pet-friendly conveniences in the room. The 141-room hotel is spread across 18 floors with a hip cafe on the ground-floor and a rooftop terrace on the other extreme, which boasts sweeping panoramic views out over the Gangnam district.

155, Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul; tel:+82 2 2038 9500

Caravan Hapejong

One success often leads to another. The story of Caravan began in 2016 when Australian designer David Flack, founder of Flack Studio, received a call from Jessica Chung and Adam Kane. The duo were tapping him to design Caravan Hapejong, their first brunch restaurant in Seoul. Within 72 hours, Flack was in Korea, meeting with the Australian expats and sealing the deal. 

Now two years on, the couple have opened a sister restaurant. Located in Seoul’s Dosan Park — the heart of Gangnam’s old garment district — Caravan 2.0 occupies a 120-square-metre space inspired by 1950s-era Italian design with a clear emphasis on craft, texture and handmade elements. ‘It was important for the two spaces to share the same spirit and storytelling, however, both reflect their surrounding districts,’ says Flack. ‘Rather than creating a themed idea of an Australian restaurant, the original brief was more about feelings and moments. The owners discussed childhood memories about what Australia meant to them. It was very much about the positive effects of immigration on the local design and food scene.’

In Caravan 2.0, large exposed ceilings contrast with the marble pattern flooring of different colours and shapes, which give a sense of movement. Powder blue Featherston Scape dining chairs by Grazia & Co. complement leather booths and bespoke walnut screens inlaid with rattan and mirror, evoking nostalgia with a contemporary twist. On the walls, custom brass sconces by Flack Studio and commissioned abstract paintings by Melbourne-based artist Jahnne Pasco-White make the space vibrant with the right dose of luxury. ‘With a focus on calm, sophisticated detailing, while retaining a lighthearted approachability and a playful toughness, this project is characteristic of our style,’ says Flack.

Text / Karine Monié
Images / Sharyn Cairns

Hannae Forest of Wisdom

A steel-and-glass library unites local communities, regenerating a forgotten park in Seoul

Hannae Forest of Wisdom is testament to the power of listening. Located in Seoul’s Nowon District, the library project also acts as a community space — a place for neighbours of all ages to come together. The work of experimental practice Unsangdong Architects, the project has also taken home a bevy of awards for its design that sees this once-abandoned patch of turf in Hannae Neighbourhood Park now filled with people both young and old reading books, drinking coffee, taking part in craft classes or simply relaxing.

The project began when the Nowon District Office listened to what the community had to say. They wanted a community library, as well as a children’s nursery and a cafe run by volunteers.

‘It’s a high-density and relatively poor area,’ says Jang Yoon Gyoo, principal at Unsangdong, professor at Kookmin University and director of Gallery Jungmiso. ‘The area lacked a space where kids can get together to learn and play. It lacked a place for the elderly to relax in as well.’

Unsangdong began by organising informal sessions with the local community, listening to their desires and needs for the library space. ‘Our goal was to create a space which invites the different ages within the community to come together and have a good time,’ says Jang.

The result is a series of spaces that feel cosy and approachable, both inside and out. Layered, gabled roofs lend a friendly, homely feel, while calling to mind the Chinese character for ‘people’. Floor-to-ceiling windows invite both natural light and visitors inside, while skylights overhead encourage young readers to tilt their gaze upward and daydream.

The building is made of reinforced steel and concrete with wooden bookshelves that follow the lines of the gabled roofs, creating a sense of continuity overhead. The bookshelves presented an attractive way of concealing the building’s many structural walls, while also creating ‘a labyrinth that flows through the space, connecting and disconnecting continuously,’ according to Shin Chang Hoon — Unsangdong’s other principal architect. ‘It stimulates the imagination, creativity and pleasure of children meandering through the library.’

The bookshelves also neatly solve another problem: how to separate the space so that it would serve the different needs of the community’s children, parents and elderly. The bookshelves create natural dividers between the library, the corner cafe, and the school where children can learn and take part in extra-curricular activities. There’s also an area devoted to community classes, where local residents can participate in programmes on everything from reading to crafts and flower arrangements.

Says Shin: ‘We love the fact that the building helps members of the community interact with each other.’

Text / Tamsin Bradshaw
Images / Sergio Pirrone

The Shilla Seoul

The Shilla Seoul is a veritable institution. Constructed in 1973 and occupying a prominent hilltop postion in the centre of the city, it stood as a pinnacle of progress as the country rebuilt. Under the direction of Peter Remedios, interiors have recently seen a full update, now dominated by soothing beige and taupe tones. The property’s traditional hanok is a popular venue for weddings, and Korean restaurant La Yeon — one of eight dining outlets — was awarded three stars in last year’s inaugural Michelin Guide for Seoul.

Studio Black

A creative collective in the heart of Seoul by Hyundai Card

Spread across four upper-level floors with views out over the hip Gangnam district of Seoul, Studio Black is a new and exciting co-working space underpinned by an entrepreneurial spirit. Opened by Hyundai Card, Studio Black goes beyond merely responding to a growing need in the South Korean capital for alternative office and studio space arrangements by offering a stimulating environment in which young start-ups receive full support to grow their fledgling brands. The flexible, modular work spaces expand or contract to each young company’s needs, there is a hot-desking option for individual freelancers, and devoted testing rooms contain the full array of smart devices, two 3D printers and even an in-house photography studio. For a quick recharge, a nap room with sleeping pods, stepped meditation space or a rooftop terrace with unparalleled views out over the city will help to clear your head and focus your mind for more a inspired approach to the tasks at hand.

Every Tuesday the venue hosts a brownbag luncheon, inviting business consultants, tax experts and financial planners to give advice and guidance on everyday small-business needs in the form of a Q&A session for resident creatives. This, in addition to a regular roster of talks, open classes and networking opportunities, contributes to a supportive start-up culture, bringing in critical input and knowledge-sharing.

What sets Studio Black apart is its ability to bring people together under a spirit of collective innovation. And in their down time, members can benefit from exclusive access to Hyundai Card's one-of-a-kind Design, Music, Travel and Cooking Libraries — stay tuned to read more about this in the next issue of Design Anthology.

Images / Kyungsub Shin