OWL Magazine Korea

Starfield Library at Seoul COEX

In Gangnam-gu, Seoul, you can find “COEX” in Samsung-dong. COEX serves as a venue for various exhibitions and conventions since 2000, making it a focal point of the MICE industry in South Korea.

Initially operated by Shinsegae Group as COEX Mall, it underwent a name change to Starfield COEX in 2015 with the introduction of Starfield. The spotlight returned to COEX Mall in 2017 when Starfield Library opened its doors.

“Public Library in Seoul COEX Mall: Starfield Library”

Starfield Library is a public library located at the heart of COEX Mall, inaugurated on May 31, 2017. With an investment of approximately 6 billion KRW by Shinsegae Group for landmark purposes, it boasts a collection of over 50,000 books, drawing inspiration from Japan’s Tsutaya Bookstore and Singapore’s Orchard Library.

The concept of a public library within a shopping mall, complete with videos, appears to have been inspired by Singapore’s Orchard Library.

“Singapore Orchard Library and Starfield Library”

Orchard Library in Singapore, found within a shopping mall, deviates from the traditional library concept. While public libraries are uncommon in malls, Orchard Library in Singapore offers a unique space for reading and borrowing books right in the midst of shopping.

Having personally encountered Orchard Library during a trip to Singapore in 2017, the place left a lasting impression. Considering that Starfield Library, born later at COEX, drew inspiration from Singapore’s Orchard Library, it adds a fresh perspective.

Since I had previously written about Orchard Library in Singapore in 2017, it’s intriguing to consider whether someone from the Shinsegae Group came across that article, gaining inspiration for this project.

“Starfield Library, Born as a Landmark in Seoul Gangnam COEX”

Remember the saying about first impressions? While Singapore’s Orchard Library fell short, Starfield Library achieved landmark status. It has become a notable tourist attraction, attracting visitors specifically to experience this place.

However, on the flip side, it doesn’t fully capture the essence of a library. Positioned within a shopping mall, it transformed into a landmark rather than solely serving its original library function.

“Starfield Library: Half Success?”

Although Starfield Library is an open and accessible space, it doesn’t exude a typical library atmosphere, feeling somewhat chaotic. It may not be the first choice for those seeking a quiet place to read or study.

In a sense, Starfield Library could be considered half successful. While it serves as a landmark within a shopping mall, it has deviated from the primary function of a library. Regardless, it has successfully become a must-visit spot for tourists exploring Seoul.

“Seoul Gangnam COEX, Starfield Library”