Simsim café by Starsis Architects Conveys Jeju Island’s Taste of Nature

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Around a decade ago, Jeju Island gained popularity when tourists and adventure enthusiasts discovered it as an ideal vacation spot. This quaint island, positioned off the coast of the Korean Peninsula in the Korea Strait, soon attracted a wave of capitalists interested in constructing various buildings, from small to large ones, inclusive of hundreds of small cafes to complement them.

Today, there are so many construction projects happening in the Island. In an island whose main economy relies heavily on its natural endowment and closeness to the ocean, you would think more nature would be given prevalence. Such is the situation so that when Starsis architects visited the island, they loved the nature but were disturbed by the upcoming concrete jungles and infiltration of the capitalism mentality.

During their visit, they met a client who wanted to build a small café that would depict the natural strengths of the island. The café would be called Simsim and located in the Soom building that was recently completed by Todot Architects.

The brief of this interior design was to create the image of a relaxing shelter, include a space where the roaster can be used from, and have a location for a bookshelf that would have the client’s hundreds of books in it.

The interiors paint the picture of a space inside the woods. Logs of wood have been designed and cut to be used as seats surrounding the garden table on a slightly sunken floor filled with soil. The table is supported by a natural stone fill around it and finished in wood.

The use of vegetation continues to accentuate the space against a backdrop of concrete walls.  Dry grass and tree twigs placed strategically in the space to explore the power of nature in its realistic sense. The counter is supported by long logs of wood stack upon each other.

The Simsim café is awash with daylight, and the large windows help in framing the views from the inside. For the future tourists and wanderlusts hoping to visit Jeju Island, this will be one of the spaces that showcases the tranquility of this small landmass amidst various construction projects that fail to merge nature into their existence.

Looking for more design inspiration? Check out our in-depth analysis of Cafe Zero, where creativity meets functionality in a stunning Modern Staff Dining Space.

Project Information

Architects: STARSIS
Location: Cheju, Jeju Island, South Korea
Lead Architects: Choi Kwangho, Park Hyunhee
Area: 75sqm
Year: 2018
Photography: Hong Seokgyu

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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