Speaking of Insadong, the first thing coming up in my mind is definitely Ssamziegil, the shopping complex featuring modern designer art and accessories shops, placed at the center of Insadong. Insadong is the iconic street well-known of line-up antique shops and folk art galleries while Ssamziegil complements the tradition with the modern features.
You could see the large signature icon “ㅆ” of Ssamziegil from far. The icon takes after the consonant of the first syllabus of its name in Hangeul writing “쌈지길”. Vey creative and impressive. Even you don’t know any Hangeul, you could easily remember the icon.
How Ssamziegil looks like
Ssamziegil consists of four floors. The main specialty of Ssamziegil, that I was astonished by, is that all the floors are connected by an inclined footpath circling around the courtyard like a spring. You got me? You don’t need to climb up stairs to access to the next floor. Just keep walking towards the same direction and you won’t end up circling at the same floor but reach another floor. This means that the whole complex is built inclined! I was really surprised by this creative design.
What line up at the path are many small workshops, designer art shops, and accessories shops. Every one of them displays unique and adorable workpieces. Since all of them line up the side of the footpath and have clear-transparent windows, you could enjoy window shopping or enjoy it like an exhibition. They often display their best items by the windows.
The rooftop of Ssamziegil
The fourth floor of the complex is a rooftop, also known as a sky garden. Visitors like to take photo from here so that it shows the whole building with their icon and night lights. There is a restaurant and cafe at the rooftop. They do some kind of pastries resembling the shape of a poop. So the pastry is named Ttong-bbang, meaning poop-bread. There is also a crafts exhibition hall, Galpi book cafe and other places to rest. There is also a way leading to idus STORE. Idus STORE is a handcraft shop housing a cafe which features handicrafted goods designed by Korean artists.
Although the building is constructed inclinedly with footpaths connecting, you could also choose to take staircases. If you take their staircases, please notice the sloppy mural and graffiti on the wall that adds to beauty of Ssamziegil.
In conclusion, Ssamziegil is a unique modern location harmonizing just well with the traditional environment. It features not only unique handicraft items, but also includes fashion, accessories, and clothing with unique artistic touches. If you enjoy this kind of vibe, let’s go visit Ssamziegil.