From Abandoned To Hotspots – Repurposed Venues In Korea

Brought to you by Korea Tourism Organisation

In recent years, MICE events around the world have been leaning towards the usage of distinct places where people can feel the natural and cultural appeal of a city itself rather than a place that merely acts as a venue for meetings and social events.

Here are some of the adaptive reused buildings in Korea that have been given new life as dining cum social spaces.

Busan

F1963 (www.f1963.org)

F1963 is a repurposed cultural complex from an old wire factory. One of the eye-catching tenants is Terarosa Coffee where many locals gather to enjoy their cuppa with closed friends.  Patrons can also chill out at the Praha993, a Czech brewery and pub within the complex.  Their Sukcheon Hall is a great option for small scale events and exhibitions and the Courtyard is also available for venue hiring too.

 

Photo credit: Beyond Garage

Beyond Garage (www.beyondgarage.com)

Beyond Garage is the first cultural space complex in Busan.  There was no historical record of the building, it was believed built in the 60s or 70s meant for rice storage and was later modified to store manufactured paper products.

Many locals have used the venue for public and private events such as flea markets, concerts, and weddings. Some brands such as FILA and Adidas have used the space for their branding events.

 

Munhwa Gonggam Sujeong

Nestled in a residential district near Busanjin Station, Munhwa Gonggam Sujeong’ or literally Culture Space Sujeong was originally built in 1943, as the home of colonial Japanese railroad administrators. The two-storey wooden building is considered one of the city’s best-preserved pieces of architecture from the period.

With its wooden aisles, tatami-covered floors and recessed alcoves, it is characteristic of shoin-zukuri, a style of Japanese residential architecture derived from the homes of warriors and Buddhist monks. The property also boasts some lovely Japanese-style gardens, and is maintained by preservationist group National Trust for Cultural Heritage No.330 in 2007.

Visitors one can enjoy a selection of traditional Korean teas, including favourites such as nokcha (green tea), daechucha (jujube tea) and maesilcha (plum tea).

 

Choryang 845 (www.instagram.com/choryang845)

Choryang 845 is one of the instagram-worthy hotspots in Korea.  An old factory turned restaurant cum café serves Korean cuisine with fresh seasonal ingredients procured daily at local markets in Busan.  As the restaurant is located uphill, patrons can enjoy the magnificent view of the city while dining in.

 

Brown Hands Café (www.brownhands.co.kr)

Brown Hand Café is another Instagram hotspot in Busan.  Built in 1922, this red building was an originally the site of Baekje Hospital, the city’s first modern medical centre.  Through the years, the building was occupied as a Chinese restaurant, military barracks, police station and even as a consulate for the Republic of China.

The famous furniture manufacturer, Brown Hands took over the building in 2015 and converted the building into a “design café”.  Patrons can enjoy their downtime whilst admiring some of their furniture accessories installed within.

 

Gemstone Café (www.instagram.com/gemstone_official_1)

Gemstone is one of the popular cafés in the Busan neighbourhood.  It was an abandoned swimming complex. Every corner is retrofitted into different sections; patrons can enjoy their day in the “pool” or have small discussions within their locker rooms.  The café has hosted many social events such as fan meetings, public talks, fashion shows and concerts since its opening.  The venue is opened for private event up to 200 pax.

 

Incheon

Joyang Bangjik

Joyang Bangjik (liternally translated as Joyang Textile Factory Cafe) is one of the hotspots for weekend hangout in Korea now. Originally a textile factory that produced artificial fabrics in 1930s, the factory is now a repurposed cafe cum art gallery. The museum-like art pieces and antiques are spotted within this cool cafe complex. There is also a small experience room next to the complex that showcases some of the sewing tools and machines used in the 1800s.  Ganghwa Island is about an hour drive away from Seoul downtown or from Incheon International Airport. The easiest way to travel to the Joyang Bangjik will be by taxi or car.

 

Café Valor (cafevalor.modoo.at)

Occupying the original steel factory in Bupyeong District of Incheon, the owner started out by selling vintage furniture and subsequently added the café. The café is decorated with rare furniture and interior props imported from the world, thus accentuating the unique characteristics of space.  It is also a popular venue for music video and fashion shoots.  The café is also available for private hire for up to 80 pax.

 

Seoul

Baesan Archive Co., Ltd

Opened in November 2017, Baesan Archive is a repurposed café cum event space in the Seongsu-dong district, known for their shoemaking businesses in Seoul.  It was originally built as rice mill in the 1970s and the turned into a warehouse in the 1990s.  Decorated with edgy art installations, the café has warranted many votes for brand product launches or exhibitions. One of its latest events was the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Launch Party.  Baesan Arichive offers 990sqm of event space, over 9 meters height of ceiling on the first floor, the rooftop on the second floor, an ideal venue for small to mid-size events up to 400 persons.

 

Photo credit: Oil Tank Cultural Park

Oil Tank Cultural Park (culturetank.blog.me)

Located near the Seoul World Cup Stadium, the Oil Tank Culture Park was an oil storage site for over 40 years. The five existing tanks were reborn as spaces for performances, exhibits and the like. A newly constructed tank became a community center, while the wide outdoor space that had been the temporary parking lot became a courtyard to host cultural events.

 

Gyeonggi Province

Gwangmyeong Cave (www.gm.go.kr/cv/en/index.do)

Gwangmyeong Cave is a tourist attraction converted from the Siheung Mine that that produced gold, silver, bronze, zinc and other minerals in 1910s.   It was served as a shelter for the locals during the Korean War.  It was later used as a storage place for salted shrimps from the Sorae Port in the late 70s till 2010.

The Gwangmyeong City transformed the abandoned cave into a tourist attraction in 2011.  It has hosted multiple events including movie screenings, concerts, fashion shows and exhibitions.  Besides the in-cave attractions and activities, the Wine Cave offers wine tasting sessions on every Saturday and Sunday, between 12pm and 4pm.  The attached cave restaurant Maru de Cave, offers western menus for diners and it is opened to private function hiring for up to 70 pax.

For more information, visit kto.visitkorea.or.kr/eng.kto

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