Glass House looks out to the ocean off Seopjikoji (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)
Big name architects such as Tadao Ando and Jun Itami have designed art galleries on Jeju Island, under the architectural principle of harmonizing the structure with the surrounding environment.
One example is the Yumin Art Nouveau Collection. Located on the tip of Seopjikoji, a cape on eastern Jeju Island, a coastal trail leads visitors to the gallery.
Visitors walk in the garden at the entrance of Yumin Art Nouveau Collection. (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)
The gallery’s collection, amassed by the late Hong Jin-gi, former chairman of vernacular newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, centers around art nouveau glass works, including the famed “Inky Cap Mushrooms” by French artist Emile Galle.
“I really do not know much about art. I came here as it is situated at Seopjikoji. But I can see that the gallery building itself is beautiful,” said a middle-aged visitor who gave her surname as Kim. She was with her three friends from Seoul on a vacation.
“This garden shows the characteristics of Jeju Island with stone and water. I am not an art expert, but one can easily see that,” she said.
Next to the gallery, the Glass House — another Ando structure — sits atop a hill, its cafe and restaurant offering Jeju delicacies such as black pork and carrots, along with a stunning ocean view.
The famous Japanese architect also designed Bonte Museum on the island. The museum, situated 40 minutes away from Jeju International Airport by car, was founded in 2012 by Lee Haeng-ja, a family member of the South Korean conglomerate Hyundai.
The museum features a wide collection of art from traditional Korean craft to contemporary artwork by internationally acclaimed artists such as Yayoi Kusama.
The view from Bonte Museum’s cafe (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)
Near Bonte Museum is Church of Sky, designed by Itami, a Japan-born Korean architect. Attached to the southern island in Korea, he left some notable structures on the island, including Podo Hotel and the Water, Wind, Rock Museum.
Church of Sky (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)
Though a functioning church with regular worship services, it is heavily visited by tourists, regardless of their religion, for its architectural beauty.
More information on art museums on Jeju Island can be found at the Jeju Tourism Organization site, www.visitjeju.net.
By Im Eun-byel ([email protected])
View from Bonte Museum’s cafe (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)
Sangcheon-ri 380, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo City
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: 20,000 won for adults, 14,000 won for youth
Yumin Art Nouveau Collection (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)
Seopjikoji-ro 107, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo City
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Closed Tuesdays
Admission: 12,000 won for adults, 9,000 won for youth
Yumin Art Nouveau Collection