Heyri Art Village: South Korea's melting pot of creativity
Some of the South Korea's most esteemed artists, musicians and architects are pooled together in Heyri Art Village, brimming with Bauhaus-inspired galleries, museums and cafés. Less than an hour outside Seoul’s city limits in Paju, and stretching over acres of unspoiled land, many of its buildings are no higher than three stories and all bear the names of the architects who designed them.
Initially developed by the Korea Land Corporation as part of the “Unification Land Development Project”, Heyri Art Village was initially conceived as a “book village” linking to nearby Paju Publishing Town (aka Paju Book City) in 1997. However, as it began materializing, many artists later joined and contributed to its growing appeal and the concept later expanded to that of a “cultural art village”.
Today, with more than 370 creative artists (writers, artists, cineastes, architects and musicians) adding to its creative growth, it’s become a melting pot of ingenuity that’s spawned work rooms, museums, artistic spaces and a string of reputable galleries. The name “heyri” is derived from title of Paju’s traditional farming song, “the sound of Heyri”.
Early on in its inception, Kim Jun-sung, one of the chief architects behind Heyri Art Village’s design, had envisioned the artistic village to maximize the creative interests of the community while minimizing any intrusion to the surrounding environment. “My vision of the project was to not merely focus on the expression of individual buildings but more so on organic ability to maintain the original setting.”
Heyri Art Village works as a collective in order to best balance with the surrounding nature and serves as a significant experiment that may be used as a guide to future developments in other communities as well down the road.
Music Space Camerata
The vision of TV entertainer Hwang In-yong. Fans of classical music will feel right at home. Replete with vintage sofas, wooden table, towering ceiling, 1930s-style speakers, and even a record player. Jot down your favorite song and give it to the DJ. Hence the paper, pen and pencil on every table. Entrance fee (10,000 won (US$8.60)) will get you a free drink and pastry.
Phone: +82 31 957 3369
Songa Kitchen & Yebin Craft
When the hunger cramps kick in, venture over to Songa Kitchen. Owner and award-winning veteran craft artist Kim Young-eun serves entrees in tableware molded by his own hands.
His nearby shop, Yebin Craft, has been a favorite for visitors for years. Young-eun doesn’t take the conformist approach and chooses instead to put special care into his work in order to create an ideal balance between food and the manner in which it is presented. According to Young-eun, “tableware can have the same nourishing effects on our souls just as food has on our bodies. The two should balance together harmoniously to complement every meal.”
Phone: +82 31 947 4668
The Chocolate Design Gallery
Think you know chocolate? Drop in for a treat of your own design. In arguably one of Heyri Art Village’s most innovative buildings, you can also grab great views of the surroundings from its upper patio.
Phone: +82 31 942 7257
Total Art Space Book House
Designed by renowned architect Kim Jun-sung and New York’s SHoP architects PC, Total Art Space Book House brings all the elements of nature together seamlessly. Retreat to the café/restaurant below after sifting though the vast selection of books. Particularly attractive at night when the light shines through the building’s wooden exterior.
Phone: +82 31 949 9305
Gallery Café Blume
A short distance away you’ll find this hidden gem. Sit under cherry blossoms while nursing an affogato and cheesecake. A nice way to end the day before grabbing the bus back in to Seoul.
Gallery Café Blume
Phone: +82 31 942 6320
Gallery So So
Blue Man Statue
Take subway Line 2 to Hapjeong Station. Hop on bus #2200 from Exit2 (50mins).
Additional Information: Best to grab a map when you first arrive. You can pick one up at the information kiosk at Gate 4 for 500 won.
When to go: Naturally warmer weather is much more conducive for strolling so spring and summer are an ideal fit. The village is open 24/7. Galleries, cafes and restaurants, however, keep to their own hours (usually 10am-7pm). Entrance is free with select galleries and museums charging admission.
Getting around: Setting your own pace on foot is most preferable. Alternatively, you can rent bikes (6,000 won for first two hours/4,000 won for each additional hour). The electric car tour of the village will cost 5,000 won per person.