JEJU ISLAND : BASKING IN BONTE MUSEUM

There's so much to revel about a place designed by a master, it's perpetual beauty and texture always injects a certain sublimity to one's being. I myself as a designer consider my design influences to be of the industrial and minimal approach and one of the people I highly look up to would be the Japanese Architect, Tadao Ando. Generally speaking, I have nothing but respect towards Japanese Architecture and Design. I admire how they create a beautiful story in nothingness, how they make one feel full from viewing an empty space with good lighting and ventilation, and most especially I love how they are very specific with the simplicity of their textures and yet come up with timeless and exemplary designs. 
When I was checking for places to visit in Jeju Island, I've come across this beautiful museum named Bonte. Not only was I looking forward to viewing Yayoi Kusuma's Installation but more importantly, I wanted to experience setting foot at a genuine Tadao Ando structure. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will also see how my friends and I visited Zaha Hadid's DDP in Seoul and Rem Koolhaas' Leeum. So for this trip, I wanted my husband to experience design and Architecture with me and we decided to visit Bonte Museum.
Appreciating the pure, unadulterated contrast of colors, lines, and nature.

Bonte is divided into 4 galleries and a Sculpture Garden. The entrance to gallery 1 gives off an exclusive and mysterious welcome to the visitors. The building stands in the middle of a pond/water feature.

Gallery 1 features an exhibition of traditional Korean craftsmanship. It showcases different wooden furniture (mostly tables used in different eras), Traditional Korean clothing depending on the class or rank, and other handcrafted items mostly from the Joseon dynasty. You are not allowed to take photos of the exhibit in galleries 1,2, and 4 so I was only able to take photos of the exterior. To give you a simple textual walkthrough, the concrete and steel finish of the facade extends to the interiors of all the galleries. 


 Since we got there on a lunch break, we decided to enjoy this tranquil view and dined in the Bonte Cafe. You will find this right at the very end of your gallery 1 tour. Food is great by the way, if you're not too fussy with your menu and would be willing to eat a simple ramen and breaded black pork meal then this place is great! And not did I mention about the view already? - I think I already did!
Side view of the rear part of Gallery 1, this is also the cafe area.
 Juxtaposition of the old and new. I really love how the traditional elements of the Korean Architecture were applied. It gives a beautiful contrast to the modern treatment of the place.
 I really wish I could take photos of Gallery 2, this was my favorite part! It showcased various contemporary artworks by korean artists and sculptors and Tadao Ando's meditation room. The meditation room exudes the perfect marriage between the traditional and modern elements of design. You will also see a lot of schematic drawings and sketches by Tadao Ando in gallery 2 including the scale model for Bonte.


The view of Gallery 1 from the Gallery 2 second floor window.
Gallery 3 is the home of Yayoi Kusama's installations - The Pumpkin and Infinity mirrored room.
The stairway entrance to Gallery 3 gave me an exquisite experience of the smooth texture and beautiful shadowplay brought about by the contours of the building.
The last stop to the Bonte experience would be Gallery 4. This gallery gave me both the chills and respect for traditional Korean woodworking and craftsmanship. The gallery is home to the special exhibition called "Carriage to Heaven". I was able to see the Sangyeo - the traditional boat shaped funeral bier. It was heavily carved and painted with vibrant colors.
Ended our tour at the Bonte in the sculpture garden. The experience for a Design and Art hungry geek like me was beyond words. I can just stay in museums for hours and marvel at the process of things.

If you happen to plan to go to Jeju Island, Bonte Museum is definitely worth the visit!

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