London design studio Blacksheep has completed an immersive cookery environment in Seoul’s Yeongdeungpo neighbourhood that includes a deli, cafe, library and kitchen featuring industrial materials and high-end European furniture.
The Cooking Library is one of four experiential spaces commissioned by local credit-card company Hyundai Card as places where customers can engage in an analogue way with aspects of travel, music, design and cooking. Blacksheep teamed up with local firm One O One Architects to deliver a design for the five-floor space that aims to stimulate the senses through its use of materials and various levels of exposure to food and cookery.
“Blacksheep worked to create an inspiring world where craftsmanship provides fundamental luxury, tactility invites human touch, and analogue detailing allows visitors to get lost in the romance of time,” said the designers. “The design team envisaged a humble factory setting on the outskirts of Europe and translated that into a food laboratory in the heart of Seoul.”
The experience delivered within The Cooking Library unfolds as guests transition between a series of connected spaces with dedicated functions. Products from European furniture brands including Gubi, Menu, Casamania and Mattiazzi are specified throughout to enhance the premium, cosmopolitan feel.
A cast-iron water pump with a cast-concrete bowl and brass plinth is positioned at the entrance, offering visitors a chance to conduct a traditional cleansing ritual as they begin their experience. The open-plan ground floor accommodates a deli, shop, bakery and cafe, which are accessible to Hyundai Card customers and the general public.
Food stuffs including artisan bread, European herbs, cheese and charcuterie are displayed and prepared by staff within this space, which is intended to evoke the bustling character of a factory floor. Flooring of locally sourced stone laid in a herringbone pattern near the entrance is intended to recall a European factory courtyard. This area transitions into a communal dining space featuring a contrasting smooth concrete floor and cast-concrete table.
On the first floor is a library displaying more than 10,000 cookery books. It features a floor of solid end-grain oak that references the composition of a butcher’s block, and bespoke shelving made from blackened steel. On the same level, a greenhouse-like display area called Ingredients House showcases a curated display of hundreds of international ingredients, which are presented on wood and cork surfaces.
A kitchen on the third level provides a space for cooking lessons, book signings, lectures and social events. Its combination of marble countertops and kitchen cabinets with blackened-steel drawer fronts is influenced by the functionality of industrial kitchens.
Overlooking the library is the glass-walled Recipe Room, which has a herringbone parquet floor and dining table positioned beneath a chandelier by Søren Rose Studio lending the space a domestic feel.
A glazed extension off the kitchen creates a separate dining area with an indoor-outdoor feel and direct access to a terrace containing an allotment that supplies the facility with fresh seasonal ingredients. Blacksheep commissioned British artist David Shrigley to produce a series of five custom-made artworks that respond to their settings in different parts of The Cooking Library. These join other artworks sourced by Hyundai Card, including a decorative balcony suspended above the library.