+82) 10-8453-0224
Subart Cafe

About the project

Subart café – Art community space
Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Interior, exterior and operation, 2012
86.2 cubic meters
wood, lightings, tiles, glasses and other interior materials

Subart Cafe is an alternative art community space comprised of furniture and devices that can be transformed in various ways. This space allows for diverse artistic activities such as performances and exhibitions. I carried out all the woodworking, plumbing, and electrical work for this space and managed it personally. While operating the cafe, I also provided a sanctuary for disappearing art activists.

Cafe view

Raising the Ceiling
As a fundamental part of the cafe’s interior design, we embedded ducts along the edges of the low ceiling, and used insulation materials along with wiring work to make the ceiling appear higher. To maximize the use of space, we created a storage area for cafe equipment on the terrace and designed the central ceiling to be openable.

Transforming Bar and Bookshelf

Given the need for diverse activities, the space had to be adaptable. The bar tables were designed to be foldable except for the cashier’s counter, and the walls could be folded and used as exhibition walls. The shelves were made to be rotatable, allowing visitors to read art-related books during regular operations and to use the shelves as exhibition walls during events.

Transforming Terrace and Built-in Chairs

The wall on the terrace can be used as a display wall, and the wooden blocks, which can be stacked, serve as a stage for three-dimensional works. All built-in chairs are actually movable, allowing for rearrangement according to the event’s needs.

Cafe Operations

The cafe operated as a regular cafe, serving as a gathering place for people to engage in conversations.


To utilize the cafe as an exhibition space, all windows and shelves were designed to accommodate the installation of artworks using wooden blocks.

Live Performances

The cafe was equipped with built-in speakers and mobile speakers to provide a stage for artists.

Filming Studio

Studio lights were installed along the ceiling light lines to enable magazine shoots and broadcasts.


To manage the remote space, a mailbox-shaped sign and a cup-shaped sculpture (1.6m x 2.3m x 1.2m) were installed outside.


To promote the cafe, we created and distributed drawing books, hosted cafe art fairs, painted and fired cups, and attached promotional materials to helium balloons on the terrace ceiling.


This cafe was built in 2012 and operated by me until 2016. It is currently managed by a different team. Through designing and operating this space, I gained skills in interior design and learned to transform objects and spaces for various purposes using hardware and electronic devices. Additionally, I learned about the relationship between interior design, space management, and promotion.

SUBART ™ by Bear Lee.  2006.


Bear Lee

T.  +82) 10-4216-3225

E.  subart28@gmail.com

W. https://subart.co.kr/