Top Design Cities 2019: Seoul, South Korea

The cofounder of architecture studio SsD Jinhee Park sees a new generation of designers emerging in Seoul.

Following a decade of rapid economic growth in South Korea‚ things are finally starting to slow down. According to Jinhee Park‚ cofounder of the Seoul-and NYC-based architecture studio SsD‚ this has led to more time for creativity—particularly for the city’s younger residents.

"People are getting more and more into design‚ and younger generations don’t feel like they have to get married and have children‚ so they have a certain freedom‚" says Park.

SsD has played a big part in the city’s flourishing design world‚ most notably with its Songpa Micro-Housing‚ an apartment complex that offers a new typology for dense urban living by blending public and private space. "Society is changing really fast‚" Park says. "Korea is small‚ so we are very good at adapting and developing things in a short time."

Her perfect day in Seoul...

Kyungsung Square

Coffee is a serious business for the younger denizens of Seoul‚ where‚ Park says‚ "There seems to be a new coffee house every two doors." But she pinpoints the Japanese-influenced Kyungsung Square as one of the best for coffee‚ tea‚ and ambience.

St. Lukemari

Moss Garden by StudioVASE

For a midday meal‚ Park’s go-to is St. Lukemari‚ a farm-to-table cafe that’s part of the Zen-like space Moss Garden by StudioVASE, which also features a florist‚ gallery‚ and market.

Millimeter Milligram

Next‚ she recommends stocking up on stationery and other desktop design objects at Millimeter Milligram in Hannam-dong. 

Heyri Art Valley

White Block Art Center

And finally‚ head an hour’s drive northwest to the Heyri Art Valley, home to one of SsD’s best-known projects‚ the White Block Art Center’s gallery.

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