As one of Seoul’s most eccentric modern architectural structures, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is without a doubt the epicenter of all things design in South Korea. Appealing particularly to young trendsetters with its wide variety of attractions, the neo-futuristic complex is a fully equipped facility where visitors can enjoy food, shopping, and entertainment all in one place.
The DDP hosts international events such as the bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week; showcases of renowned fashion brands, including Chanel and Louis Vuitton; and art exhibitions featuring the works of Alessandro Mendini, Paik Nam-June and Kim Young-Won, among other notable artists.
281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 2153 0000
Situated at the foot of trendy Gyeongnidan-gil, Petit Ballon specializes in authentic French meals. Its eye-catching façade, seemingly plucked straight out of a quaint alley in Paris, intrigues passersby while its tantalizing menu attracts foodies from all over the city. Reservations are a must at this cozy spot, which only boasts a handful of tables in its delightfully decorated, modern Victorian dining room. Groups of five or more can also reserve the private second-floor space for an even more intimate dining experience.
228-1 Noksapyeong-daero, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 790 2277
Part café, part gallery, b2project is a haven for both coffee lovers and design aficionados. Here, colorful paintings adorn the walls and quirky lighting fixtures hang from above, while mismatched chairs and tables create a comfortable environment for chatting or reading a book. The gallery downstairs, which features an array of modern Scandinavian furniture, is a feast for the eyes. If you’ve got (a lot of) cash to burn, you can also purchase the wares on display. Pieces start at a whopping one million won (US$1,000).
130-11, Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 747 5435
Takeout Drawing is as much a design space as it is a café – so much so that food and drink sales here fund the exhibitions, talks and artist residencies that the café hosts. With its concrete walls, window scribblings, minimal décor, and rotating artworks, Take Out Drawing is the ideal environment for finding inspiration and experiencing the creative process firsthand.
Even the menu items, inspired by past and present works on display, are inventive and playful. The Jindallae Ade, for example, is a refreshing twist on a traditional Korean fruit punch that combines the delicate flavors of azalea petals, lemon, cinnamon, and plum. Paul’s Meringue Factory, meanwhile, is the most Instagram-worthy option; a cup of smooth espresso is topped with peaks of melt-in-your-mouth meringue which is sure to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 745 9731