When I was younger, and even shorter than I am now, all the world loomed above me. I used to imagine myself as an ant in a field of grass and wonder how it felt to be lost in the verticality.

Cavernous spaces, spaces so vast that the air above feels tangible, still hold that allure. How the eye traces the walls up to where they intersect the roof, to where vision begins to blur. In CO:LUMN, the roof falls short of closing completely, and a bit of sky peeks into the ecosystem within.

It really does feel like an ecosystem: a terrarium of concrete and girders. Many-armed, many-ribbed sculptures—insect exoskeletons in abstraction—crouch in the foyer and hang from the ceiling. Trees emerge from gaps in the floorboards. Sound, emitted from totemic speakers in the corners, engulfs the space. It is all strange but not unsettling, like a Murakami novel in which otherworldly events transpire but the characters accept them as facts of life.

I think of the greatest expanses humanity has ever known: night skies, barren deserts, sparkling seas. And I think about how extraordinary it is to be a child. To feel so very small, the world so very large, and all the light and all the sound so engrossing.

The neighborhood of Seongsu is fast becoming a hub for the artistic set, with café/gallery CO:LUMN, in the formerly vacant Daelim Warehouse, at its center. A giant kinetic installation greets viewers upon entry, while an opening in the ceiling floods the café with natural sunlight throughout the day. CO:LUMN is especially popular on weekends, when a 10,000 KRW cover, one drink included, is charged, so try to drop in during the week to have more of the space to yourself. Light food is served; simple pastas and desserts may be wanting in flavor, but you’re here, after all, for the ambiance.

Name in Korean
78 Seongsui-ro, Seongsu 2(i)-ga 1(il)-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Mon-Sun: 11:00-23:00
02 498 7474
Around 25,000 KRW per person

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