Named YND 223-14 after its Korean address, Yeonnam-dong Café 223-14 is a novel coffee shop located in Hongdae in Seoul.
Owned by the company Greem, the café’s design idea, created by founder and owner Eun-Jin Lee is totally special. Designed in black pen-graphics, the café ubiquitously marries reality and illusion to conjure up a fantastical ambience. The chalky colourless interior is zanily juxtaposed against details like tables, chairs, mugs, illustrations of plants, flowers, art frames, wooden tiles and even a dog peeking through a window, all outlined in black felt pen, making customers feel thy’ve entered a comic book.
Following Korea’s edgy cafe culture, it was inspired by a Korean drama called “W – Two Worlds,” which saw the main characters enter a fantasy webtoon world. Along with the playful design and endearing use of optical illusion, the café also serves yummy baked goods such as chocolate cookie muffins, Dacquoise with cream cheese and strawberry cake that customers can enjoy while taking ‘instagrammable’ photos.
Lee apparently owned the old YND 223-14 café which was a 430-square foot space, that due to its immense popularity could no longer meet customers’ demands. Now, with the seating area three times the size of the original café, plus a cute rooftop featuring drawings of clothes bellowing on a clothesline, YND 223-14 is six times larger than its predecessor and hence has a shorter waiting time!
Eun-Jin Lee idea was to remove the distraction of colour from the interiors and shift the spotlight onto the hues that really matter, like the brown of a chocolate cake or the green in the tea lattes.
Largely marketed by word-of-mouth, don’t fret if Seoul in not part of your travel plans as Lee looks forward to expanding to other locations around the world.