Asia Culture Center is a public institution of the international cultural complex. The institution is a place for exchange, collection, research, production, exhibition, performance, archive, and distribution of cultural resources. The designer has given a role to design the lobby and lounge area of the international conference room where national and international distinguished guests visit frequently.
The client has requested the space to have the traditional identity of Korea as this area would serve as an exhibition space for the guest visiting Korea to showcase the culture of Korean heritage. Instead of direct implementation of traditional elements found in Korean culture, the designer has created a space where past and present are being coherent through a creative reinterpretation. There are intangible cultural heritage craft artifacts placed in the space along with modern craft objects that the designer has created in collaboration with Masters.
Although the lobby is an open area, it feels snug due to the use of layout brought from Hanok (Traditional Korean House) which has a courtyard at the center. In the lounge area seats are arranged as if they embrace the space. After passing the entrance finished with brass, there is a bell from temple Beopjusa of Joseon Dynasty made by Jucheoljang (Intangible Cultural Property of Casting). Visitors can ring the bell, and it enriches the spatial experience with an acoustic element. The center of the lobby provides a sense of being in the courtyard of Hanok and it is designed to hold cultural events if needed. A corridor next to the lobby is ideal for having tea during conferences. Traditional Korean crafts are displayed inside of the table for the visitors to enjoy. At the back of the lobby, there is a lounge evoking a calming atmosphere. The use of material for sofa and table creates a sense of luxury and weight as well. The table design resembles images of meditative watercolor paintings. The table lamp is a reinterpretation of Korean fans in a modern sensibility. The artwork covering the wall designed by Paiksun Kim creates soft light through Hanji (Korean traditional paper). The shadow casting through the traditional pattern of the window frame, and the reflective ceiling recalling the memory of looking at the reflection on a silent pond; all of these elements lead to a place that is truly Korean.
Space is undoubtedly possessing traditionalism. One can travel back in time and experience historical beauty. Yet the space per se is still modern with its understated and subtle details. By doing so, the designer has achieved a balance between old and new creating a harmonious space where Korean traditionality can be experienced in a new way.