I’m back with another one of my Korea-related blog posts! This time around, I’ll be talking about not only a cafe, but also a K-pop mall.
Yes, a K-pop mall. It might be quite out of this world, but in Korea there is a mall in Gangnam dedicated solely to the artist merchandise of one of K-Pop’s giants–SM Entertainment!
While Yuki and I were in Seoul, we made sure to visit places that we were familiar / knew a lot about (since we lived there for quite a while) to share with everyone. One of those “hot” places in South Korea (especially for K-Pop fans) that we wanted to share is the SM Artium in CO:EX Mall.
The SM Artium (에스엠 아티움) is considered to be one of the “meccas” of Korean Pop (or K-Pop) merchandise and goods. The entire building showcases SM Entertainment’s artists, contents, and their respective goods which includes (but is not limited to): clothes, bags, stationery, albums, as well as food and beverages.
The entire building is located right next to the CO:EX mall, is 5 floors high, and is completely dedicated to SM Entertainment’s products.
The floor plan of the Artium is as follows:
2F: SUM (Idol Merchandise & Goods)
Since the first floor is just an elevator and escalator lobby, the second floor is actually the first floor available for visitors to roam around in! Here you can find SUM, SM Entertainment’s Idol Merchandise and Goods shop.
Although most of the items that can be found in this floor are novelty items such as stationery, standees, pillows, etc., items or clothing that the artists have worn (not the actual but the exact same clothing) can be found here. Among these are the sponsored clothing (with proof shots that the idol has worn it), makeup that the idols endorse, and accessories (ex. phone cases) as well.
The novelty items are relatively cheaper than the sponsored clothing, but generally the price range of the items is higher than your usual souvenir or trinket. SM artists’ albums can also be found on this floor, and they range from around KRW17,000 to KRW30,000 (PHP700 to PHP1200) depending on the “quality” and complexity of the album design.
3F: SMTOWN Studio
The third floor is the SM Studio, where some of the recordings, album shoots, and music video filmings are done from time to time. For a fee, you can make your dreams of being a K-Pop star come true. According to the official website, you can avail of either a photo package, video package, a vocal package, or the artist package. The packages come with either a photo album, a CD, USB, DVD, etc. for you to keep reliving your K-Pop star dreams.
Unfortunately, on the day we visited, the floor was closed for a private event, so we couldn’t peer in.
4F: SUM Market & Cafe
At the fourth floor, you can find the SUM Market and SUM Cafe, where you can buy snacks and treats decorated with your favorite artist’s song lyrics, faces, and emblems!
The SUM Market can be found at the outer portion of the floor, right by the entrance. Here you can find SM Entertainment artist branded teas, almonds, popcorn, and even drinks!
Aside from the edible items, you can also find SM Entertainment artist sponsored products like soaps, lotion, and personal care products! Most of the things that can be found, same with any star-sponsored product, are a bit more expensive than their grocery / generic counterparts.
Deeper into the fourth floor of the SM Artium is the SUM Cafe! Here, like in any other cafe, you can purchase drinks and desserts but the catch is that they’re embellished with lyrics and images related to your favorite artist.
Yuki and I actually visited this cafe in 2015, but decided not to buy anything at the time because we weren’t really attracted by any of the pastries or the drinks. However, during this visit we caved in and bought a drink, because as of late, SM has improved their reusable bottle designs!
If I’m being honest about my review for the drinks, they aren’t anything particularly special. Yuki and I found out later on (as they were pouring our drinks) that they were actually just your regular Ocean Spray and Kirkland bottled juices, so these were definitely overpriced. The bottle however was the saving grace, since you can keep it after you consume your drink.
5F: SMTOWN Theatre
Last but not the least is the SMTOWN Theatre!
The 5th floor is not only the theatre, but also the location where SM Artists hold their special events (such as birthday fanmeetings, mini concerts, etc.). When there are no events however, the theater is a plain and simple theatre where you can relive the moment and view some of the SM Artists’ (ex. TVXQ, Super Junior, EXO) concert footage.
Other than that, there are also photo booths and a hand printing area–where you can take photos with your favorite stars, and compare your hand size to other celebrities.
Some of the commemorative merchandise such as large posters and concert goods can also be found and purchased on this level, so if you’re looking to hang a huge poster of your bias on your walls then this is the place to go!
Overall, for anyone who is in to K-Pop, or is getting in to K-Pop (SM artist fan or not), I would recommend that you drop by this place.
SM Artium, SUM, SUM Market and SUM Cafe Address:
서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513 코엑스 (513 Co:ex, Yeongdongdae-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul)
Opening Hours: 11AM – 10PM
How to get there:
- Take the subway to Samseong (삼성) station, come out of the underground passage between exit #5 and #6
- Head straight down the road once you exit, at the end of the road head up the escalators
- SM Artium is to your right, take the escalators again going up the building.