On the 26th of August, Seoul’s newest department store ‘D-Cube City’ was opened at Shindorim Station. Do not be fooled by its open and glassy appearance. Although it looks more like the shopping mall “Times Square” just down the road and not your normal windowless department store, it is indeed a new department store owned by the conglomerate Daesung.
However this is not simply a department store and it is bound to be in some heated competition with Times Square. Times Square is a shopping complex which opened just over two years ago and is less than 2km away from D-Cube City on the same road.
Here is a photo of what D-Cube City looks like from the outside.
Personally I could rave on about the place as it has somewhat impressed me but I shall restrain myself and try to briefly summarise some of the main attractions.
Firstly, the complex consists of:
Floors B2, B1, 6: Restaurants
Floors B2 ~ 6: D-Cube Department Store
4th Floor: Pororo Theme Park
Floors 7, 9: D-Cube Art Center
Floors 27 ~ 41: Sheraton Seoul D-Cube City Hotel
There are a few items here which set D-Cube City apart from other places, not least the Pororo Theme Park which has been a hit with kids and parents alike. They have even set up a free viewing area so family members who don’t want to fork out some extra cash can watch over most of the place for free.
The Arts Centre is also a bonus, particularly to Seoul residents living in the south-west as there was previously no theatres suitable for large scale stage performances in this area. It is refreshing to see something other than a 4D movie complex be built here and for the past month crowds have been pouring in to see the musical ‘Mama mia’.
However, the real factor that seperates D-Cube from any other department store or complex is the incredible design. Designed by the Jerde Partnership from California, the store has been built in an atrium style with wide windows inviting welcome sunlight into the complex from all angles. The trees and water features which are on nearly every level also add to the open atmosphere, plus there is plenty of seating, something which is clearly lacking at other malls and stores.
A park with a large outside seating area outside has been built next to the complex and was host to the Culture & Tourism Fair recently. Some of the park is still under construction with several modern art pieces also being installed throughout the area. The park continues back to the Dorim Stream which runs alongside the area.
Lastly, Daesung have paid great attention to dining with three floors of restaurants to choose from. When scouting for restaurants, they scoured the country in search of popular restaurants or ‘mat-jibs’. This means that even the food courts here offer a unique and tasty experience. You will not find your typical restaurants here but a vast variety of traditional and contemporary foods. If I could recommend just one place it would be Hwangjini on B2 which amazed me with its traditional Korean design and atmosphere that really has to be seen. The food is also good quality and I have found myself going back often.
As for the shopping, there are not as many stores compared to other department stores but this is balanced out by the range of different brands. D-Cube City is home to 30 brands that have opened their first store in Korea. While I realise I must sound like I am advertising, the construction, design, choice of shops etc. at this complex really surprised me after going to so many windowless boxes.
To sum things up, D-Cube City is less about shopping and more about the experience of having a day out trying on a few garments, playing with the kids at Pororo’s, sipping a cup of coffee, enjoying a musical and finishing it off with a hot meal.