Big Lights has been called a pioneer of natural wines in Korea and continues to present a selection of wines tailored to the tastes of Korea’s connoisseurs. This May, Big Lights moved to second floor of a building that now houses the Fritz Hansen Lounge.
We met Lee Joo Hee, owner of Big Lights, to talk about the new space and the connection between natural wine and design.
Naturally, the conversation included Tetu, the café and natural wine shop next door to Big Lights that is operated by the artist Guk Hwa. Tetu and Big Lights are furnished with Fritz Hansen.
FH. The two spaces are operated in different ways with natural wine as the common denominator. Tell us more.
Big Lights is the first wine bar opened in Seoul. We offer food as well, using only seasonal ingredients and using only firewood and charcoal grill. The changing menu is always designed to go with natural wine.
Tetu is a cafe and natural wine shop operated by artist Guk Hwa where you can enjoy natural wine more casually and comfortably. If Big Lights has an atmosphere like a house party, at Tetu you can drink wine in a quieter setting.
Next to Big Lights, Tetu offers natural wine by the glass, coffee, and wine by the bottle for takeaway. Artist Guk Hwa operates this quieter space in collaboration with Lee Joo Hee. ‘Like a cafe in Paris, I dreamed of a cultural space that was about more than just drinking coffee, and I wanted it to be more natural and human than a formal feeling. Arne Jacobsen's Dot™ stools, Swan™ chairs, and Nendo's N01™ chairs create a sense of rhythm, giving you a sense of freedom. After the table and chairs were set, small items such as KAISER idell™ lamps were added to complete the atmosphere of the space. Above all, this is a place where you can freely enjoy natural wine,’ explains Guk Hwa. @tetu_seoul
The Fritz Hansen Lounge serves as both a showroom and an office space. Employees use the space every day for work and host clients and visitors, sitting in the various lounge spaces and putting Fritz Hansen designs to use and enjoyment.
Q I AM CURIOUS ABOUT THE OPENING OF THE FRITZ HANSEN LOUNGE.
For 10 years, Fritz Hansen has steadily established and maintained a strong retail presence in Korea, but our contract business is just beginning.
For client projects with architects and professional designers, we needed a space to show our products and collaborate. The Fritz Hansen Lounge is designed to fill this need and reflect Fritz Hansen’s direction and philosophy.
Q FRITZ HANSEN KOREA HAS COLLABORATED WITH BIG LIGHTS NATURAL WINE AND TETU FROM THE SHOWROOM. TELL US ABOUT THAT.
Natural wine production and Fritz Hansen share values: history, natural materials and production processes, and the philosophy of the makers. The natural wine market in Korea has grown rapidly over recent years. In Denmark, it has been a part of the food and beverage culture for some time. So, this seemed like a timely and value-driven collaboration from the start.
It is also nice to have two great examples of our furniture in use just upstairs from the showroom, serving high quality product with organic integrity.
Q DID YOU PAY ANY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE 1ST FLOOR SHOWROOM AND OFFICE SPACE?
We really came at this space with a Korean perspective and a Fritz Hansen perspective, working with colours and layouts that we believe our local customers will enjoy. We were able to create four lounge areas for both business meetings and relaxation within this first-floor space.
We worked closely with our Asia CEO, Dario Reicherl, to build the Fritz Hansen Lounge and the collaborations within the building. We knew it was a special opportunity to have neighboring businesses upstairs with such strong reputations within food and natural wine.