To most outsiders, Seoul remains something of an enigma. Its people are famously inscrutable and as a society, it closes ranks fairly quickly. Worse, the memory of the disastrous 1950-1953 Korean War remains fresh, alongside nervous updates of the activities of its belligerent brother up north.
And yet, somehow, this city of 11 million has quietly blossomed.
These days, Seoul moves to a new beat. Its endless miles of concrete highways and featureless buildings are slowly giving way to a startling urban silhouette and a thriving cultural scene. In electronics and mechanical engineering, its technological prowess is peerless. Elsewhere, in enclaves like Hongdae, a new generation is giving voice to a fresh artistic score.
All while cleaving closely to the city’s layered past.
Timely then that in the November issue of Wallpaper*, we celebrate the best of Seoul’s past, present and future. Produced by a crack team of gimlet-eyed writers, stylists and photographers, our ten page ‘Seoul Revealed’ supplement celebrates the city’s diverse creative forces. It’s a revealing snapshot of modern Seoul and its ambitions to take its place on the international stage.
It’s a long overdue moment. As one of the contributing writers of the project notes, ‘Seoul’s modern success, its very survival, has been so unlikely that foreign pundits have long referred to it as the “miracle” on the Han. For the people who live here, it’s finally beginning to feel like one.’