News: a library dedicated to design has opened in South Korea's capital city, offering access to over 11,000 books chosen by an international team of curators and critics.
The Hyundai Card Design Library is backed by the country's largest credit card issuer, which claims "there are few design museums and libraries in Korea, whereas Korean colleges every year churn out more than 30,000 novice designers."
A team including British critic and Golden Lion-winner Justin McGuirk, MoMA curator Paola Antonelli and New York architecture and design journalist Alexandra Lange was brought in to select the books, which cover topics including architecture, industrial design, graphics, photography and branding.
Of the 11,678 books selected for the library's shelves, more than 7000 aren't available anywhere else in South Korea and over 2600 are either out of print or very rare.
The firm also hopes the initiative will appeal to a cultured group of potential customers: "It makes people feel that if you have a Hyundai Card, you get access to an enriched lifestyle," says a spokeswoman.
While most libraries are open to the general public or to academic communities, this library can only be accessed by the company's credit cardholders and their guests, and then a maximum of eight times each month.
Alongside the book collection, the library contains a cafe and an exhibition space, while on the second floor is an area for reading and discussing ideas around a large steel table. The top floor contains a small attic-like space inspired by a reading room in an old Korean palace where princes could concentrate quietly on their studies.
The curatorial team also wrote commentaries on nearly 1000 of the selected books, which can be read through an iPad app available to library users.
Located in Gahoe-dong, an area once home to Seoul's scholars and noble classes, the library was designed by architect Choi Wook of Seoul studio One o One.
Earlier this year we reported that a fully digital public library without a single book is set to open this autumn in San Antonio, Texas, while in New York, architectural firm Foster + Partners is planning to completely overhaul the city's public library – see all libraries on Dezeen.