A Whimsical Vision Creates Space for Art and Culture in Daegu, South Korea

Inside The Forum by Hayon Studio.

The top floor of The Hyundai department store in Daegu, South Korea, centres on an unexpected motif: Rome’s Colosseum. It’s a symbolic piece of The Forum, a fantastical design-forward cultural space commanding the ninth floor of the new-fashioned department store. Brought to life through bright colours, quirky shapes, and playful patterns—with designs that draw upon imaginative references ranging from Egyptian wall art to Greek history—it bears the signature whimsical style of Spanish-born designer and artist Jaime Hayon of Hayon Studio.



Covering nearly 50,000 square feet, The Forum is a world unto itself. Within it, the Colosseum is a circular area with stadium seating that Hayon conceived as a creative space to host anything from performances to art and lectures. Radiating from the Colosseum are four communal zones: Café Walking Cup, a dining area and coffee shop; Green House, an enclosed sitting area; Gates Garden, an outdoor sculpture park; and The Forum Shop, a store with merchandise inspired by The Forum itself.





Each zone invites interaction. For shoppers seeking a spot to chat, Green House is flanked by foliage, while dazzling oversized circle and diamond window panes arch over a dot-patterned floor with bistro tables perched on legs reminiscent of Doric columns. Café Walking Cup, offering a full menu and plenty of fuel for conversation, was a special treat for Hayon. A coffee lover himself, he created the animated logo (a smiling coffee cup on legs) that beams above a yellow scalloped and curvilinear bar, while white three-dimensional reliefs pop across the ceiling like clouds.

The overall effect of The Forum, a success thanks to the creative freedom given to Hayon to develop his otherworldly designs, transforms the department store into more than a place to shop. It’s a place to spend meaningful time—a space to inspire.