Cast in shadow, this Korean eatery celebrates the night

Seoul – Calling James Bond – by favouring greys in lieu of colours, and shadows over lights, the interior of Obaltan restaurant’s Seoul location sets the stage for late-night drink. Local studio Intoex has designed a 615-sq-m space for the Korean eatery, combining moody lighting and dark stone to create an interior caught somewhere between a Bond movie and 1990s neo-noir – a venue fit for the night.

Referred to by locals as the Brooklyn of Seoul, Seongsu-dong was once a major industrial neighbourhood filled with factories. Artists and creatives have gradually taken over the area, covering factory faҫades with murals and opening cafés, galleries and cultural spaces throughout. Intoex – aiming to complement the neighbourhood’s rich visual history – opted for a subdued colour palette and dim lighting.

Guests enter via an entrance hall where waits a space dominated by black granite stone – a recessed waiting desk, the wall and floor are all made from the material. The monolithic area is visually broken by a square motif pattern: at the back wall, a punctured screen leads to the dining areas. Above the entrance hall, another gridded-screen subdues overhead light.

In the dining hall, floor-to-ceiling glass partitions add a sense of privacy between tables. Designers encased spot lighting in grating-enclosed shafts, which drop down from the ceiling to individual tables below. In the central dining area, a brightly-lit Barrisol stretch ceiling adds a spot of visual respite, preventing the interior from feeling overly-dim.

Location 656-335 Seongsu-dong 1(il)-ga, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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