Money makers: tour the new Hyundai Card Factory in Seoul
If you ever wondered what a credit card production facility looks like, a visit to the Hyundai Card Card Factory is just what the doctor ordered. Located in the company's headquarters in Yeouido, the heart of Seoul's financial district, this brand new project by Hyundai has just opened its doors to the public, offering unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to its manufacturing spaces.
The factory takes over the building's tenth floor, designed by local architect Choi Wook of One O One – also the man behind another recent project by the same company, the city's Hyundai Card Design Library. The company recently inaugurated one more bespoke space earlier this year (although designed by a different architect), the Hyundai Card Music Library.
One of the team's main priorities was to create a varied emotional experience for the factory visitor – the space should hover between a functional industrial facility, a historical archive and an art installation. Inspiration was found in the vibe and atmosphere of the pioneering factories from the age of the industrial revolution. Thus, the interior combines modern, state-of-the-art automated technology with a little analogue nostalgia via the use of elements that reference the 19th century. For example, the nine large lighting elements hanging from the ceiling subtly recall factory chimneys. Metal – chosen for its raw, industrial feel – was Choi's main choice of material for elevators and furniture.
The company's own history and archives were equally important to the design process. A 'history wall' displays the 102 card plates created since the Hyundai Card's conception, while 200 books about industrial design from the 19the century through to the present day are available to browse in the building's special reading corner.
The Card Factory is now open to Hyundai customers (there's currently over seven million), who can pick up their cards on site. Members can bring up to three guests along, to relax at the factory's cafe or take a tour of the premises, experiencing first-hand how their plastic money is made in the 21st century.