Hapjeong-gu is one of Seoul’s newest hip neighborhoods. Not long ago, it played second fiddle to Hongdae, the artsy, university area one metro stop away, and it was known mainly as a former center for the book publishing industry. But as Hongdae fills up with hot dog stands and chain cafés, Hapjeong-gu is coming into its own as the new center of cool.
One of Hapjeong-gu’s most unusual attractions is B-platform, a space for learning how to appreciate the printed word—both the content and the vessel. In their cozy space, the owners not only let you judge a book by its cover, they even teach you how.
合井洞最独特的景点之一就是 B-platform，这是一个让你学习去欣赏从内容到载体，关于印刷艺术之中各个面向的地方。在这个舒适的空间里，老板会鼓励、甚至教导你如何 “以貌取书”。
One of their main attractions is their studio, where they conduct workshops and seminars about bookbinding, illustration, engraving, printing, and the creative process, as well as run a monthly gathering for art book collectors and enthusiasts. In the main room, the store offers a varied range of art books and illustrated publications from all around the world.
Kim, a self-taught photographer, joined the project after meeting the founder, Seoran Son, in a seminar. A retired sculptor herself, with a broad experience in artistic environments Son shared Kim’s view and ideas for this space. They run B-Platform mostly on their own, with just two employees to handle the website and design. Besides their own projects, they have worked with international publishers like Rotopol, based in Kassel, Germany, and they designed and printed the catalog for a hotel in their very own press. This catalog, which looks more like a work of architecture than a work of literature, reflects their motto: “A book, whatever its content—illustration, photography, literature—should also be appreciated as work of art in itself.”
Kim 是一位自学成才的摄影师，他与创始人 Seoran Son 在一次研讨会碰面后，决定加入这个项目。Son 是一名退休的雕塑家，长期浸淫在艺术环境之中。Son 和 Kim 两人对于这个空间的想法一致，他们身体力行来经营 B-Platform，只雇用了两名员工来负责网站和设计。除了本身的项目，他们还与位在德国卡塞尔的 Rotopol 等国际出版商合作，为一间酒店设计并印制宣传画册。这本宣传画册看起来更像是建筑作品，而不是文学作品，这正好反映了他们的理念：“一本书，无论内容是插图、摄影还是文学作品，都应该被视为艺术品。”
I cannot help but stare at a wooden showcase with beautiful volumes arranged neatly inside. “That’s our own collection of rare books. Instead of selling each one of them separately, we display them all together. That way, not only one person can enjoy them all, but they’re also accessible to everyone,” says Kim. They also rent out the bookcase for events.
As a space for art, B-Platform supports both emerging and renowned artists, and in only two years of existence, they have displayed the work of over 30 Korean and international artists and publishing houses in their gallery space, collaborating with some of them in limited editions that are also on display.
在工作室里有一个木制陈列柜，上面整齐排列着各种美丽的书籍，实在让人移不开目光。“这是我们自己的稀有书籍珍藏。我们不想分开出售它们，而是将所有书都放在一起展示。这样一来，就不只有一个人，而是所有人都可以欣赏到它们。” Kim 解释道。这个陈列柜平时也开放出租，用来举办活动。
Just two blocks away are two big bookstore chains, one that sells new titles and one that specializes in secondhand books. “We were worried at first, but to be honest, it hasn’t affected us at all. We offer limited editions, pieces of art, something to collect and to take care of.” Their books are meant to by explored by curious hands, not forgotten on a shelf. They’re waiting to show their hidden treasures, their exquisite binding, their quiet performance in paper in ink.
距离 B-Platform 仅两个街区之外，伫立着两家大型的连锁书店，一家出售新书，一家专门从事二手书。“起初我们也很担心，但说实话，这并没有影响到我们。毕竟我们是专注在限量版书籍和艺术品的领域，都是一些值得收藏和留存的书籍。” 而这些珍藏的书本，不适合被遗忘在书架上，而是要让满怀好奇心的人们去尽情探索。那些隐藏在书页内的宝藏、精美的装帧、以及在墨水与纸张中铺展开来的宁静世界，正等待着你。
3F Dongmak-ro 2-gil 22
Mapo District, Seoul
Hours: Thursday–Sunday, 1 pm–9 pm