© Studio Unravel / Photography: Han Sunghoon

The concept of hospitality may be universal, but how it’s presented is a whole different thing, and takes shape in a myriad of forms. And sometimes, it’s influenced by local culture, providing a venue with a unique aesthetic. And such is the case with yyyyynnn, a newly opened café in Samcheong-dong, a hilly neighbourhood in northern Seoul known for its quirky mix of art galleries, restaurants and shops. The café is situated in a more residential part of the area where it occupies a 108 sqm. (1,163 sq.ft.) ground floor unit of a modern low-rise, featuring an understated interior by local design practice Creative Studio Unravel. Surprisingly, the aesthetic for the hospitality venue takes cues from Henri Michaux (1899-1984) a quirky yet acclaimed Belgian-born poet and also painter, best known for his exploration of the inner world of dreams, fantasies, and hallucinogenic drugs.

Similar to Michaux’s work, the premises of yyyyynnn feature a minimum of boundaries and demarcations, mimicking a state of mind that’s fluid and changing. However, the café flaunts an aesthetic that also embeds elements from Seon Buddhism, resulting in a clean setting that makes use of the structure’s concrete shell, and with just a few interventions, is able to project modernity with a slight meditative edge. The front section of yyyyynnn is open and uncluttered, and is shielded from the porch by merely retractable floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The flooring comprises of large concrete tiles, and is paired with raw concrete walls, replete with holes and bumps, that extend across the premises. When weather permits, the porch becomes an extension of the indoors.

Upon entering, patrons encounter a sturdy communal wooden table with stools, and in an adjacent room, two elongated service counters can be found, both clad in grey stone panels. Directly opposite, a contrasting seating are is situated, captured by a bench and ottomans in an electric blue fabric, salon tables with glass tops, and a backdrop of slatted mirrors. In between the counter and seating area a sleek, wall-mounted side table with a similar round glass top serves those dropping by for a pitstop. Creative Studio Unravel not only designed the space, but also provided yyyyynnn‘s branding as is evident by its minimalist menu card, coasters and business cards. What’s on the menu, you might wonder. Well, a concise variety of coffee concoctions, teas, and hot cocoa, all paired with a selection of cakes. Location: yyyyynnn, 71 Yunboseon-gil (Samcheong-dong).

© Creative Studio Unravel / Photography: Han Sunghoon