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[Guest Report] Libraries offer extensive collections on specific topics

July 07,2017
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Hyundai Card has built four libraries dedicated to a distinctive theme. From left is the Design Library, the Travel Library, the Music Library and the Cooking Library. [HYUNDAI CARD, KYUNGSUB SHIN]
Hyundai Card Design Library is a splendid Bauhaus-inspired building in Gahoe-dong in central Seoul with 16,872 books exclusively devoted to design, photography, architecture and visual communication.

The Hyundai Card Design Library kept the previous hanok, a traditional Korean house, building structure, but it built an ultra-modern interior. It contains books and media material related to design as in fashion, interior design, architecture, photography, graphics and so forth.

To make the collection stand out from others, the card company hired experts in architecture, industrial, visual and general art and design as well as international book curators and critics and assigned them to select the books. The curators left commentaries for some books, which can be read on iPads installed on the second floor. On the third floor of the three-story high building is a coveted spot of the library.

It is a cozy reading room with a view of Mt. Namsan at a distance. This space is a widely sought-after venue for visitors including designers who seek a quiet space for contemplation. The library allows them to immerse themselves into reading and replenish their minds with fresh new ideas.



Bon voyage

Hyundai Card launched a travel-themed library in 2014 as its second space-branding project. The Travel Library holds more than 14,000 travel-related books and maps of 92 different cities. It was built in the quiet but luxurious shopping district of Cheongdam-dong in southern Seoul in order to bring the sense of the uncertainty and marvels of exploration to the epicenter of Seoul’s quintessential luxury.

Aimed at inspiring visitors with different perspectives of traveling and encouraging travel as an intellectual adventure for a new world, Hyundai Card established three rooms - the “Find Room,” the “Play Room” and the “Plan Room” in the library.

The “Find Room” is the starting point of the room-to-room journey with maps of cities around the world on the wall and dozens of planes hanging on the ceiling.

It’s connected to a second room, the “Play Room,” which allows visitors to virtually explore the nooks and crannies of the world with the 3D Map and Street view.

The “Plan Room” is the final destination of room-to-room journey where visitors can plan their own trips and share their ideas on the wall made with blank maps and whiteboard. These rooms combined with unfamiliar exotic objects and furniture placed all across the library heighten the excitement of traveling for visitors.



Musical exploration

The unique modern building that houses Hyundai Card’s music library in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, is the third location of the company’s “library project.” Opened in 2015, its purpose is to provide a diverse range of music for visitors, the library houses more than 10,000 vinyl records and 3,000 books about music. Visitors can enjoy music from the vinyl records and read the world’s rarest magazine collection and books about music. The first floor of the library holds vinyl records, including 250 rare albums. Of them, some of the rarest editions, including the Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today” Butcher Cover edition, the first print of Led Zeppelin’s debut album and the Rolling Stones’ Special Radio Promotion Album are displayed on the wall. Music Library, a space for music culture, is also used as an interactive space for performance. The library has a performance series, named Understage, where visitors can watch top-class performances by the most prominent artists and enjoy events hosted or arranged by its in-house curators including master pop singer Yoo Hee-yeol, Yoon Jong-shin, DJ Soulscape and actor Kim Soo-ro. This space can accommodate up to 500 standing guests.



Culinary playground

Hyundai Card’s most recent signature cultural project is the Cooking Library, where visitors can eat, cook and read about the world of food. The building itself offers a vast array of cooking courses. Visitors can enjoy the deli at the ground floor, read 11,364 books about cooking on the second and third floors, and experience cooking stations on the top floor.

To be specific, the books and other materials displayed on the second and third floor include recommendations from internationally-acclaimed authors and critics, cookbooks, magazines, guidebooks, memoirs alongside recipes by 219 celebrity chefs and food writers.

On the fourth floor dining and cooking class area, visitors can smell and see, then touch, listen to, and create cuisine of their own. Cooking programs, named Self-Cooking, are held regularly and visitors are invited to reserve a kitchen station to cook recipes from cookbooks preselected by Hyundai Card using prepared ingredients. With this space, Hyundai Card wants to create a library to serve as an exciting hub for professional chefs and home cooks alike in need of kitchen facilities.

By Lee Chae-won [lee.chaewon1@joongang.co.kr]