[2023 Seoul Design International Forum] A Space for Rest in the City, 'Yoonseul : Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong' Visit

[2023 Seoul Design International Forum] A Space for Rest in the City,

'Yoonseul : Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong' Visit


I am Yeonwoong, a 2023 Seoul Design International Forum supporter.

Before introducing the space, I would like to explain about Seoul Design and Seoul Design International Forum.

Seoul Design

Seoul Design is a vision for Seoul that responds to the challenges facing the community due to various global issues, and enhances the competitiveness of the city and allows everyone to live a happy life.

Seoul Design International Forum

Seoul Metropolitan Government has been discussing the present and future of Seoul design that citizens want through the Seoul Design International Forum. At the 2023 Seoul Design International Forum, we discussed how our city, Seoul, is currently being illuminated under the vision of "Human-centered City" with world-class designers, architects, and experts. Furthermore, I believe that this forum can provide insights into the role of public design as a "city alchemist" that stimulates new experiences, creates memories, and even enhances the competitiveness of the city through collective memories in the public realm.

Before becoming a supporter, I thought of public design as simply a public place for an unspecified number of people, but through this activity, I was surprised to find that emotions and experiences that I thought could only be felt in prepared spaces such as exhibitions or museums can also be stimulated and create memories in the middle of the city. I felt like I had a new experience, and it was a positive stimulation.

*** For more information about the Seoul Design International Forum and Seoul Design, please visit the Seoul Design International Forum website.**



Seoul Design International Forum



Today, I will introduce you to Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong, located on Seoullo 7017.


Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong

Address: 33 Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Operating hours: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM (closed in case of rain)

Access: About 10 minutes walk from Exit 15 of Seoul Station

Organizer/Sponsor: Seoul Metropolitan Government

Artists: SoA (Kim Yerin, Lee Jaewon, Lee Chihun)

Materials: Steel frame, stainless steel, super mirror, LED lighting, 25x25 permeable concrete slabs

How to get there


I went via the overpass right in front of the Seoul Station bus transfer center!

There are signs along the way, so it was easy to find even for first-timers.



You can take the elevator to Mangridan Square and it will take you right there.



Yoonseul means "the ripples of water reflecting sunlight or moonlight" in Korean.

Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong is a spatial artwork in the shape of a large optical lens with a diameter of 25 meters.

It has a space that is 4 meters deep below the ground, so it has a unique form that is completed when the audience enters the space.

Yoonseul is a public art project that was launched in 2017 along with the construction of Manridong Square.

It is a project that aims to practice public art that is directly explored and used by creating an experience space that embodies the meaning of the place, rather than focusing on the installation of art works for viewing.

It creates the original value of the work as a space that allows people to feel art close by, expand the value of the use of art in everyday life, and build a more active relationship with citizens.




Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong is the first artwork implementation project implemented by [Seoul is a Museum].

A team of experts in art, architecture, landscape, design, performing arts, urban planning, and geography, was formed with five artists appointed by the Public Art Advisory Committee. This team proposed and implemented the work.


The entrance is a large, open space with a curved staircase with 2,800 steps. The staircases are arranged in a circular shape, giving the impression of being in an outdoor theater. When you enter, you walk down the stairs in a straight line. When you reach the middle of the stairs, your vision opens up and you feel a sense of grandeur..

Overall space feeling

The ceiling is high and open, so even though it is actually underground, it can be viewed without feeling stuffy, but rather cozy. The stones surrounding the space in a staircase shape were impressive.



Through the large stainless steel reflector, the scenery and sky of Mangridan are reflected, and the harmony of the stones stacked on the floor is well-balanced. The space is designed to make visitors feel enveloped in the space. The work is themed "Yoonseul", and various citizen-participating performances have been planned, such as "Yoonseul Usage Method". After the opening ceremony, programs such as performances, sound work, and meditation classes have been conducted.


The upper part is covered with stainless steel super mirror louvers to capture the rippling sunlight and the scenery of Mangridan. It was interesting to use reflective materials to show the image of the city inside, and the expression that reflects the inside outside. It felt like seeing a city from under water.



Urban rest space

When I went inside Yoonseul from the noisy and crowded city, I felt a sense of being wrapped up.



The arrangement of the stone steps was so beautiful.

The internal stone steps were in a circular shape that enveloped them, giving the feeling of being in a cave. I felt a cozy feeling when I was in the space. 

The design of Yoonseul focused on three things: place, time, and relationship.


Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong

Mannridong was a bustling downtown area in the past, so it had a rich historical and social context. During the operation of Seoul Station Overpass, it was a space that was used as a parking lot on the street. With the promotion of the Seoullo 7017 overpass park project, it was a place that showed a dynamic movement to create a new park. If the Seoul Station Overpass was once a passage of industrialization, it had the potential to transform into a passage of culture and art where people pass through. It was important that the Manridong Square well connect this flow that would come down from the overpass. Therefore, Manridong was selected as the target site for the pilot project.



Seoullo 7017

This refers to planning that anticipates and reflects the changes that are taking place in the city at the level of the city, such as the changes that are taking place in Manridong, which is located in the center of the Seoul Station 7017 Project and Seoul Station urban regeneration project, changes over the seasons or time, and various programs.

“<Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong> is excellent in that it maintains a positive tension without competing with the overpass in terms of form or meaning, creates a unique experience, and maximizes the experience of nature and the city.”

"I think it succeeded in maintaining consistency of context from beginning to end. The word "Yoonseul" is mentioned, then the mirror is mentioned, and the light that shines on Manridong, which has been in the shade until now, leads to the shape of a mirror, and the composition that brings the program to the end is complete.”

- Jury evaluation for the implementation of public art at Manridong Square

The evaluation criteria were based on the interpretation of the task, place, relationship with citizens, public art, and the originality of the artist. Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong was overwhelmingly supported by the jury for its faithful fulfillment of the competition's intention of creating a place that connects the work and programs without colliding with Seoul Station, the overpass, and surrounding buildings.


The last is relationship. It is a work that was planned considering the relationship between citizens or the city based on the aspect of actually using and utilizing the work, not just looking at it. I thought it was well-made for a public art project in that it was made so that even first-time visitors can naturally view the work in accordance with the intention of the work without any explanation.



Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong

This is the view of Yoonseul from Seoullo 7017!

I will end the article with a video of citizens naturally using "Yoonseul: Seoul through the Eyes of Manridong"


Thank you for reading.


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