[Sponsored Report] Take a break in the middle of downtown Seoul

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[Sponsored Report] Take a break in the middle of downtown Seoul


The view of the second floor of the Hyundai Card Travel Library in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul.Provided by the company

Hyundai Card opened a Travel Library on May 14 in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, to inspire residents to explore and relax right in the heart of the city. Defining travel as “all of the intellectual activities to discover a new world out of the daily routine,” the new library’s location was chosen to bring hard-working individuals a peaceful and inspirational place to rest.

The library provides a diversified collection of information regarding travel with about 14,000 books selected by four internationally renowned book curators, from a travel columnist for The Guardian to Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific travel editor. Each of them recommended 2,000 books for the library. The four curators also wrote commentaries in 769 books to inspire potential readers.

On the second floor of the building, books of different categories such as travel guides, magazines, photobooks, fiction, nonfiction and dictionaries are not only organized by region but also by 13 themes, such as art, architecture, adventure and photography. The collection covers 196 countries and 105 languages. Visitors can easily find the book they’re looking for by searching for it on the tablet PC located in the library. Readers can also purchase books from the library.

Travel consultants are available in the library to help visitors find an adequate place and time for their next trip. A screen that features Google Earth and paper maps located in the corners of each floor help those who are looking for their next journey. Next to the library’s entrance, a flight schedule is updated every 30 minutes with data from Incheon International Airport. The first floor includes a cafeteria with snacks and drinks and a travel store.

Hyundai Card focused especially on the design of the building. Various materials such as glass, acrylic, tile and stone were used to create an interesting atmosphere to pique the readers’ curiosity. Decorations like old globes and vintage maps take readers back to a time of exploration and new worlds. Different types of chairs from different regions and time periods provide visitors with a unique expedition of finding the right chair for themselves.

For the second floor, only small walking spaces remain on the floor because of the staircase and the opening to the lower ground. Readers can climb the stairs to reach a small pathway high in the air, which evokes adventure in an unfamiliar place.

To maintain a pleasant reading atmosphere, the entrance to the second floor, where the books are placed, is limited to only 30 people at a time. On weekends and national holidays, when more visitors are expected, the limit is extended to include 40 people. Hyundai Card membership holders and one of their guests are offered free entrance eight times a month.

“The Travel Library has very unique design that takes you by surprise on the outside and draws the visitors inside,” said Masamichi Katayama, the interior designer. Katayama has previously designed Colette, a specialty boutique in Paris, and the New York Soho branch of Uniqlo, a global fashion store.

“There are no straight lines, but bumpy surfaces that create different scenes from different angles and times, which will present fresh feelings for every visit,” said Katayama.

By Kim Young-shin [yskim11@joongang.co.kr]

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