IFC Mall Brings New Shopping Experience to Korea
The brand new IFC Mall in Yeouido claims to be the first international-style shopping mall in Korea. As Advanced Technology and Design’s roving reporter, I decided to head over to the International Finance Center to check it out for myself.
Being a consumer, I’ve been to some of the best malls in the world. One of the largest malls in the U.S., King of Prussia, is 30 minutes away from my parents’ house. While the IFC mall does remind me of the ones I’ve been to at home, there’s something different. This mall feels very modern and “sparkly,” for a lack of a better word.
The IFC mall includes 100 brand stores spread out over three floors and is home to the country’s first Hollister store. I appreciated that it had retail stores like Banana Republic and Bershka, which aren’t as commonly seen in Korea. However, the clothes are still pretty pricey compared to if I were to purchase them in the States.
In addition to clothes, there’s a large bookstore and a 9-screen CGV multiplex.
When shoppers get hungry, they can pick from a wide range of restaurants and tastes, including Japanese, Mexican and American. I think there’s a good mix of fast food and more upscale restaurants to meet everyone’s interests. Most of the restaurants are on the bottom floor, so you can do your shopping without getting too distracted by food.
For those who aren’t fans of shopping or of being indoors, the IFC mall also features a glass pavilion with a 46-foot ceiling that gives a new kind of shopping experience in an outdoor atmosphere.
A sculpture park surrounded by trees is right outside the glass pavilion that will likely serve as an art exhibition space in the future. By the pavilion is also a plaza that will host outdoor events.
If you happen to take along a friend or significant other that absolutely can’t stay inside for more than a few minutes, you can always drop them off at Han River Park, which is a stone’s throw away.
The Yeouido area is also where 23% of insurance firms and financial institutions as well as 16% of broadcast media and related organizations are located. The mall was built with the aim of bringing the employees of these business as well as more people to the Yeouido area, which is bustling during the weekdays, but somewhat dead on the weekends.
I don’t see that being too hard of a goal to reach, given that you can basically spend an entire day at the IFC Mall. (Or at least I can!) When I went, there was even this cool event for the grand opening, where performers walked and danced along the glass facade!
The mall is connected to lines 5 and 9 on the Seoul subway system through an underground passage, making shopping easier rain or shine. This sets it apart from other shopping areas, like Myungdong, where all of the stores are separate and going from store to store in the rain or snow is quite discouraging. Even before you get to the actual mall, there are stores that entice you to get off the walkway and pop in.
It’s also part of the larger IFC complex, which includes two office towers and Conrad Seoul Hotel (which is expected to open in November).