Featured store: Travertine in Seoul, South Korea

Specialty coffee shop and bakery Travertine in Seoul features a unique design that blends contemporary and traditional elements.

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Named after the travertine limestone featured in its construction, the store bears a traditional hanok roof and glass walls, as well as steel stools on a gravel courtyard. It is built in a 1920s structure that has been well-preserved for almost a century.

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“We also referenced 2001: A Space Odyssey and Cosmos for inspiration,” says manager Seung Mok Lee, “because both gave us this idea of imagining the future from a past perspective”.

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The venue is designed to promote mingling, with most of the seating set in communal arrangements. It targets younger customers as well as nearby office workers.

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“Specialty coffee has become more popular in Korea, and companies are taking coffee extraction and roasting very seriously,” said Lee. “But we want to take this further and focus on engaging with people … If we can eventually turn this into a spot where meaningful relationships are created over a cup of coffee, I couldn’t ask for more.”

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