Taking an architectural promenade through space: a picnic in the city

Located at the foot of Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, Piknic is a cultural space, complete with exhibition halls, a café, restaurant, and design shop. The building, originally constructed as the office of a pharmaceutical company in the ‘70s, was remodeled by Network in Architecture (NIA).

Piknic is situated in the foothill zone of Namsan Mountain in Hoehyeon-dong, Seoul. Known as Namchon, this is a relatively underdeveloped area crowded with old houses. The owner and the architect shared the same view, “to create a space compatible with the given environment and conditions,” and therefore, decided to renovate, rather than to rebuild. The site of Piknic is not only bigger than that of its surrounding constructions but also vertically spread out in the direction of the slope of the mountain. With such characteristics, it was understood that the building could serve to connect Namsan with the subway station by the road, if it were to be transformed into an open space.       

Piknic, as evidenced from its name, aims to be a space that offers pleasure and relaxation to urbanites seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is designed so that visitors can admire the scenery and enjoy programs all throughout the building, from the lower ground floor to the fourth floor. Featuring a spatial composition connected with vertical and horizontal elements, Piknic provides an opportunity to stroll the landscape from diverse perspectives. The internal and external spaces including the terrace and outdoor garden are designed to flow freely into each other.     

Glint – the exhibition production company responsible for the management of Piknic – curated Ryuichi Sakamoto : LIFE, LIFE and Jasper Morrison: THINGNESS exhibitions. On the ground floor is a café that transforms itself as a bar at night. There is also Kiosk x Kiosk, a shop that sells products designed by Korean creatives. On the third floor is Zero Complex, a French restaurant. The terrace on the fourth floor, significantly more spacious after the removal of the original roof, is a wonderful spot to enjoy the panoramic view of Namsan and old areas of Seoul.   

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