South Korea’s capital is home to more than 49,000 coffee shops, and the average Korean is slurping more than 12 cups of coffee every week. While international and local coffee giants are busy racing each other to become the biggest chain in the competitive market, the specialty coffee industry is also flourishing. There is a diverse range of independent coffee shops across the country, offering quality coffee and minimalist interior designs to coffee lovers from around the world. While our team was in Seoul for a business meeting, they went on a cafe tour to appreciate the interior design of Korean coffee shops. Here are their personal favourites:
yyyyynnn is hidden in an alley near Gyeongbuk Palace, the main royal palace of Joseon Dynasty. Creative Studio Unravel combined natural elements, such as wood and stones, with concrete and metal to create an untouched, minimalist space for the coffee shop. In this era that prefers ‘more’, we were happy to discover a coffee shop in a new city that shares our belief in the power of ‘less’.
More than less is situated in Han-nam Dong, one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Seoul. Run by couple Hyobin Kim and Sanggyu Woo, more than less serves Bonanza coffee from Germany, books and a selection of design goods in its bright, spacious shop. The concrete walls and blue-green tiles are paired with bespoke furniture and draping plants, adding a comfortable, inviting feel to mtl’s raw, industrial aesthetic.
Contempo is located on a small street in Seongsu-dong, an old industrial area in northern Seoul. Owned by local design furniture company Jackson Chameleon, the space is furnished with sofas and side tables from the brand. The seating layout changes regularly: contempo currently features a sea of plushy, tone-on-tone blue sofas that are positioned together in the middle of its space.
We were delighted to visit our friends from FOURB at their outlet in Hapjeong, Mapo-gu. The space exudes a comfortable warmth from the minimalist palette of white and wood, accentuated by colorful furniture, plants, stone slabs and more. We loved the frameless glass walls and roof windows, which allows natural light into the coffee shop.
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