Cornerz’ Hong Jong Hwa and SML’s Lim Seungmo Collaborate on Punggi Ginseng Cooperative
Architects Hong Jong Hwa and Lim Seungmo share similarities. They both are from Seoul, South Korea, studied architecture at the city’s Kyung Hee University, and worked at Mass Studies at the same time. But last year, they forged different paths. Now 38 and 35 respectively, each has founded their own firm, with Hong the director at the Cornerz and Lim the principal at SML. But their bond is still strong and they continue to collaborate. “We respect each other’s passion for design,” Hong says.
Their first completed project together is the wholesale center in Yeongju for the Punggi Ginseng Cooperative Association. The association specializes in the production of health foods made with ginseng grown by Korean farmers in and around Punggi. Food company executives come to the 2,100-square-foot center to preview products before purchasing them in bulk. Red ginseng, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, is cultivated for years under an artificial shade device made from wood and fabric called sampoeojang. One of Hong and Lim’s main design moves at the center was to reinterpret the sampoeojang as display units.
But there are also contemporary touches worlds away from agrarian sensibilities. The laser-cut logo at the entry is internally lit and discreet. Inside, white-painted walls and flooring of white oak planks or polished concrete are similarly muted. Color does make an appearance, however. A wall-length stretch of niches is lined with dozens of canisters in ginseng-berry red.