Written by Glenn Yang & Karis Kim, Retail Cross Border, Korea, Cushman & Wakefield
Seoul’s recent trend of transforming old industrial factories and warehouses into new, hip cultural spaces is still very much the hype for developers and consumers alike. Following the revitalization boom that breathed new life into Seongsu, the once major industrial district for metal welding and shoemaking, as well as Euljiro, the iconic hub for printing factories throughout the 60s-80s, today the movement is continuing to spread to other aged pockets of the city.
The ‘Vinyl House’ pictured above is a perfect example of such recreated spheres, nestled comfortably in glaring contrast to its industrial neighborhood of Mullae in western Seoul. Vinyl House acts as a resting and cultural spot showcasing artists and various collaborations, with a shop-in-shop denim brand and in-house made fusion cuisine.
Consumers can explore the back alleyways to find such hidden gems, spending hours experiencing the area, seeing first-hand the marks of the industrial past and paying up to taste new foods, drinks, and discover a wide array of creative expression. Anything experimental goes – especially when it comes to art, culture, and community. Indeed, consumers are increasingly ditching traditional spending habits in order to delve into multi-faceted experiences and alluring content to be consumed.
Lifestyle Curating and Paper is Back!
Consumers in Seoul are returning to the old fashioned printed word. The secret to this back-to-retro success is presented by lifestyle curated bookstores that are combining cultural interests with paperback books, cafes, lifestyle shops, and trendy select dining.
Arc n Book pictured above is located in the basement floor of a major office building in the central business district of Euljiro, Seoul. Centered around books, Arc n Book curates lifestyles and tells stories with four themes; ‘Daily’, ‘Weekend’, ‘Style’, and ‘Inspiration’. Through these key themes, consumers can explore new living patterns and interests.
Following this phenomenon, lifestyle brand MUJI also most recently opened its biggest store in Korea right alongside Yeongpoong Bookstore in the Jongak business district. Implementing MUJIBOOKS, the new concept focuses on paper books as well as lifestyle products promoting health and beauty, household items, and more.
The cross-over of paperback bookstores offering up a serving of nostalgia, as well as new retail experiences and spaces made up of diverse modern culture and fun, are together set to create a wide range of new, multi-use complexes across Korea. As the interests of consumers continue to favour experience-first retail, developers and occupiers alike must take note, regardless of whether they’re a multinational or mom-and-pop shop. In this age of fickle consumer loyalty, in-store experiences can make all the difference, for better or for worse.