If you’re ever in the market for the hippest glasses or want to experience an equally impressive art display, go to Gentle Monster in the Hongdae (홍대) area. This is one seriously creative store that is impossible to describe completely. You really need to witness it first hand. Hapjeong Station (합정역) is the closest station, and you need to maze your way around Hongdae to find it. Here is the address:
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 404-5
Seoul Mapogu Seogyodong 404-5
As you enter, you’ll immediately notice a sort of quarantine room with bright white lights all over the area. This certainly took more of my attention than the glasses on display next to it. I didn’t even realize it was a store that sold glasses until I saw some numbers on some of the models!
As you get past the plastic divider, you’ll enter a room with small Christmas trees and park benches everywhere. Reality and your sense of place will bend with the eerie sci-fi atmosphere and the trees chaotically placed everywhere. Be careful not to knock the trees with your feet, as it is very easy to do so. You may also notice a lot of dead butterflies which I found very shocking. I’ll have to report to PETA. Try to sit on the bench and absorb the sensations that this room invokes.
The store is designed somewhat like a maze that guides you through all of the floors. When you go up the stairs, you will only have access to the third floor, which has a random gigantic submarine in the middle of the room swimming in a sea of styrofoam! A lot of the designs here are pretty over the top as well.
Once you leave the submarine room, you’ll enter the 2nd floor where they have a lot of human statues and more conservative looking glasses. I believe most of the glasses on this floor are for sale as they had prices on them. There are several different displays on this floor with attendants tracking your every move to zealously clean the fingerprints off of them after you touch each pair. You’ll most likely be too engrossed in checking out all the designs to notice them. They’re like ninjas that blend into the background. Even the exit is concealed through a trap door. Perhaps the concept of this store is designed towards people who appreciate uniqueness in their world.
Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area as it is quite interesting to experience this place in person. It’s awesome for a cheap date or escape from the norm.
Have any other unique places to share? Let me know in the comments below!