To Go Coffee Shop / Seomi & Tuus House Object Gallery
32-21 Chae-Dong, Chongro-gu
Seoul, South Korea
With long business hours (Mon~Fri, 7am to midnight; Sat, 7am to 11pm; Sun, 9am to 10pm) and a serious dedication to contemporary art and design – given their ties to a nearby gallery – the To Go Coffee Shop housed within this quaint brick-and-glass building made for the best of both worlds. Open early enough for a warm cup of coffee to get your day going, but also laid back and aesthetically interesting with its display of modern artwork to make you want to stay longer than you normally might just to take in the scene.
The bukchon neighborhood follows a similar dual dynamic. Retro remnants of a by-gone era with traditional architecture and residences that take you back in time, flanked by rows of ultra hip and trendy shops popular with the city’s busy youth. The latter characteristic reminded me of the ura-Harajuku area of Tokyo. I have a friend who works as an assistant director at one of the many galleries here, and I’d always heard interesting things from her about hanging out and working in this district, so I had to check it out for myself, camera in hand.