Calvino's Seoul

"Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else."

-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

condenCITY_61 city-double : double-city

Mullae dong in Seoul has become an artists enclave over the past decade. To begin THIS decade we examine two communities in Mullae, having become a double entity, side-by-side;  the industry and artist communities of Seoul.

Mullae-dong in Yeongdongpo-gu is one of the few remaining industrial areas within the center of the city.  At the first half of the 20th century, industry took root in Seoul with modernization and production needs (during the Colonial period) and population induced, extended city limits. Today, industry has been pushed to outer city limits with speculative rezoning, leaving vacancies and voids in the industrial city-scape. By 1999, displaced artists of the Hongik area began to take over the vacant spaces of Mullae-dong, occupying the upper levels of what were once industrial offices and work spaces within non-descript, concrete slab structures. A loosely formed community began to emerge and what has now been collectively realized as Mullae Artists Village. 

Now, with the last remaining metal and machine shops at street level, both artists and artisans have established a mutually beneficial common ground. A blossoming 'double' which may even overcome short sided speculations to redevelop this culturally significant area.