Quite why South Korea’s largest credit card issuer is committing itself to the creative disciplines with such intensity is not entirely clear, but over the past few years Hyundai Card has been seeding Seoul with ambitious standalone libraries dedicated to music culture and performance space, interactive production facility and design. Each is a veritable high-tech temple, replete with a comprehensive collection of documents, records, souvenirs and specimens of the respective discipline.
The latest addition to this impressive haul of archival material is the Hyundai Card Cooking Library which opens on 28 April. Located in Dosan Gongwon in the hipster quarter of Gangnam, the five-storey pile is designed by Choi Wook of architectural studio One O One (which was also responsible for the Hyundai Card Card Factory and Hyundai Card Design Library).
For Hyundai Card, the Cooking Library is part of the company’s remit to go beyond finance business. ‘Our cultural projects, which includes the Library Series, are designed to make Hyundai Card members feel that they get access to an attractive lifestyle, and this helps build emotional connection with our customers,’ says Eugene Chung, Hyundai Card’s global PR team lead.
The second floor features the Ingredient House, filled with over 190 herbs and spices, which visitors can browse, touch, smell and sample
Which explains the extensive menu of activities and services. Besides a loft-like café, bakery, and library racked with practical and theoretical volumes devoted to the culinary arts and drinks, two gleaming high-tech kitchens are staging grounds for cooking classes run by a corps of chefs, lecturers and, in this era of rampant social media, food stylists.
The Ingredient House, meanwhile, is a homey moniker for what is essentially a high-tech experiential lab for guests to experiment with and taste over 190 ingredients such as bamboo salt, myrtle, rice bran oil, annatto and Sarawak black pepper.
And if being surrounded by so much gastronomia leaves you feeling a little peckish, hustle up to the rooftop terrace to the glass-framed conservatory restaurant, Greenhouse. Here, in a space large enough to fit just one long table, executive chef Wonjun We parlays stints at the Park Hyatt Seoul, and Jeju’s Haevichi Hotel & Resort into an interactive dining experience of seasonal ingredients.
As with the other libraries, entry to the Hyundai Card Cooking Library is restricted to members and two guests, with visits limited to eight times a month.