Chwihyang Gwan [취향관]

Bo-ra! Deborah (2023)

This is wine bar ‘Woobar’ run by Yang Jin-woo (Lee Sang-woon) in Bo-ra! Deborah/True to Love (보라! 데보라) (ENA, 2023) — as seen, for instance, in episodes 5, 7 and 8.

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Chwihyang Gwan/Chwi Hyang Gwan/Project Chwihyang [취향관], established in January 2018, is a paid membership club located in Seoul’s neighborhood Hapjeong [Hapjeong-dong/합정동] in the Mapo District [Mapo-gu/마포구].

Self-desribed as “culture salon and social club,” this is a reinterpretation of modern European salon culture and carries the tagline ‘WE make better ME’. The guiding principle of this place is ‘taste’; a place where tastes are shared and tastes of others can be discovered. This is also what the name refers to as chwihyang (취향/趣向) translates from Korean to ‘taste, liking, fondness.’

Membership can be subscribed for three, six, or 12 months and includes using different spaces such as the café and bar, movie theater and workspaces (also called “taste halls”). Joint art projects and classes such as discussing Korean literature (organized in ‘seasons’) are also part of the program. Most members are in their 20s and mid-30s and have diverse professions such as broadcasting station PDs, prosecutors, doctors, freelance writers, nurses, and teachers.

Chwihyang Gwan is run by CEOs Ko Ji-hyun (고지현) and Park Yon-hoon (박영훈) who both worked in content and media companies before and initially met in 2012 while working as interns at the Blue House. As Kit Studio (킷스튜디오), they also run a subscription channel on Youtube together with a non-named British Youtuber who has 3 million subscribers.

For the club, a two-story 40 pyeong Western-style house built in 1980 was remodeled by architecture company By Architecture (바이아키). By now, ‘old detached houses’ are a rare item in Seoul; especially with a wide 100 pyeong yard such as the one of this place.

For the branding —done by named labs— the inspiration is taken from the budding 1970s-80s, when pop culture found a footing in South Korea and which were, in general, marked by a vibrant artistic and cultural life. Editor and publisher Han Ki-gi (한창기) is in particular mentioned by named labs. Han published the first Korean language magazines < Deep Rooted Tree/뿌리깊은 나무 >, which ran until 1980, and then follow-up magazine < Spring Deep Water/샘이 깊은 물 > which was first published in 1984. Both were designed by South Korea’s first art director, Lee Sang-chul (이상철). Deep Rooted Tree is also South Korea’s first monthly magazine to adopt Hangul-only and horizontal writing. Also, with its thematic focus ‘culture’, it revived Korean folk songs and pansori.

The squared logo of Chihyang Gwan is a 2018 interpretation of Deep Rooted Tree‘s logo with the font revived by graphic designer Kelly Moonkyung Choi under the name ‘Spring Object (샘물체)’.

Chwihyang Gwan is featured in the 2019 book ‘City Led by Content (콘텐츠가 리드하는 도시)’ by Team NSPACE which showcases 25 shared spaces in Seoul. This space is seen in Chapter 2 ‘Membership Space (멤버십 스페이스)’.

Instagram: @hwihyang.gwan

20 World Cup-ro 5-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울 마포구 월드컵로5길 20
(서울 마포구 합정동 426-16)
Geolocation: 37.551944, 126.911211

Getting here
Hapjeong Station [합정역], Seoul Subway Lines 6 and 2, Exit 8
(6 min. walk)

— submitted by Marion KDL

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