The U.K. style magazine Wallpaper has ranked Seoul as the world's fifth best city in its annual Design Awards. New York grabbed the top spot, followed by Berlin, Rotterdam and Istanbul. "While it may be a hardworking city, Seoul isn't short of decadent choices for time out," it said.
Launched in 1996, Wallpaper has become an iconic magazine over the Noughties with its coverage of global luxury style and hyper-sharp images. The annual Design Awards cover 11 categories, including cities, interior design and fashion. This is the first time Seoul has made it on the list.
"A wave of new design and architecture is surging through Seoul... the city saw Rem Koolhaas's shape-changing Transformer cultural pavilion for Prada and Zaha Hadid's Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park, set to open in 2011," the magazine gushed. UNStudio's Galleria Department Store "is setting a trend for the kind of super-malls usually seen in neighboring China or Japan. Gallery-wise, the Arario Seoul and the Leeum Samsung Museum have both injected vitality into the Korean art scene." The Templum spa, designed by Claudio Silvestrin, is an example of what the magazine refers to as "decadence" -- apparently a term of praise.
A city spokesman said the accolade came thanks to new buildings and structures in the city and a wide range of events to promote Seoul after it was selected as the World Design Capital 2010.