The Korean credit card with its own hipster libraries
In the small streets near Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace, amid art galleries and boutiques is a modern store front with a traditional Korean hanok-style roof.
Backed by one of Korea’s most popular credit cards, the Hyundai Card Design Library is the world’s largest library dedicated to design, with a meticulously curated selection of books along with a café and an exhibition space. Unlike most libraries around the world, it’s open only to Hyundai cardholders and their guests.
It’s not exclusive in the way airport lounges are, however. When I asked locals, it turned out to be widely known across the city.
“It’s a hot spot among young people. And it will become even more so. With design bookstores becoming a hot trend in Seoul, you can find books which are very rare or even out of print there,” said Eliseo Jeong, an Airbnb host in Seoul.
Many banks act as cultural patrons. Besides acclaimed exhibitions in Berlin’s Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, and an art prize to support rising talents, DeutscheBank, for instance, launched an art card which gives cardholders free access to over 70 of the world’s best museums, a pass to high culture for high fliers.
But like the bright pink Monzo card, meant more for the Easy-Jet set than business class passengers, the Hyundai Card is aimed at a broader audience. It offers something local, tangible and attainable – a richer life through motivated learning.
Hyundai Card offers plastic with different benefits tailored to different customer groups who embrace different lifestyles. It has built up libraries themed around their various appetites for design, music and travel.
It’s a marketing strategy that has resonated with consumers who increasingly value experiences over physical possessions.
“Young people in Seoul are at first intrigued by the libraries’ interiors and then enjoy looking through those design books,” said Jeong. “Design, music, travel these topics are inspiring. It’s also good to get away from everyday life and have different experiences. ”
Image sources: Hyundai Card, Wallpaper
- Article by Stephanie Fan