Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

Category : Museums/Galleries
 Jun 15, 2015

Museum Architecture




Museum 1


Museum 1 is a massive yet minimal hexahedral shape and is located on the slope of the Namsan with a view of the Hangang. An extremely simple hexahedral shape and reverse cone is a symbol of Mario Botta’s architecture.

Museum 1’s solid shape invokes a citadel or castle that protects the unchanging value of traditional and contemporary art. In particular, terra cotta bricks on the exterior wall, made of fired clay, symbolize Korean porcelain, which has been internationally acclaimed. These bald, geometric shapes and invincible exterior walls contribute to The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art’s overall powerful image, displaying the power of tradition.





Museum 2


Sensuous images actualized by high technology and contemporary art

Jean Nouvel, whose designs are at the junction of high technology and contemporary art, defines architecture as “space-constructing skills and image-manufacturing tasks”.

With trees on the ground, the structure of Jean Nouvel’s Museum 2 symbolizes the endless generation of contemporary art. The main components of the overground are exterior glass walls and rectangular cubes of various sizes.
These randomly placed exhibition boxes provide audiences brand-new exhibition experiences and contribute to visitors’ overall dynamic experience. The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art’s Museum 2 will be used as a permanent exhibition space for the works of the world’s best contemporary artists such as Donald Judd and Damien Hirst, as well as artworks by Korean modern and contemporary artists.

Rusted stainless-steel was used, for the first time anywhere, to manufacture the exhibition boxes. Countless tests and sample analyzation were done to visualize this paradoxical concept – that rust-proof stainless-steel could be rusted. Museum 2, like contemporary art that yields new meanings from objects by observing them paradoxically, sanctifies the whole building as a gigantic art piece through materials and spaces far beyond the conventional.





Samsung Child Education and Culture Center

The architect’s intention and influence are minimized in Rem Koolhaas’s design. When he was commissioned to build Samsung Child Education & Culture Center, he had suggested building a line that would connect each building organically. He says that all he has done is create a natural flow of the surfaces of the glass wall in the parking space and of the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center, along with the borderline of the ground.
A gigantic black box, visible through glasses, and a flexible space of 17 meters, which encompasses the black box, is an architectural exploit enabling audiences to experience different spaces, along different time lines, and different paths of action.






Regular Fares






Digital Guide

Permanent Exhibition

10,000 won

6,000 won

5,000 won

2,000 won


Group Reservation


Regular Group

Youth Group

Digital Guide

Permanent Exhibition

7,000 won
per person

4,000 won
per person

2,000 won
per device

Receive a 30% group discount on admission for groups of 20 or more by reserving your tickets
three days in advance.
※ Group discounts are not available at the door
※ Group reservation and discounts do not apply on weekends and public holidays


Culture Day Fare



Youth Digital Guide

Permanet Exhibition

5,000 won

3,000 won

1,000 won

  1. Ticket prices for special exhibitions may vary.
  2. No additional discounts offered for groups, seniors or people with disabilities.
  3. Every last Wednesday of the month is Culture Day.



Tour Information

  1. Opening hours - 10:30 - 18:00 (Box office closes at 17:30)
  2. We are closed every Monday, January 1, New Year's and Chuseok holidays
  3. Group tours – for 20 or more people reservation is required
        (Group discounts are only available on weekdays)

Guided Tours



Time and Durdation

Leeum Highlights:
Docent Tours
(Permanent Exhibition)


10:30 - 12:00



13:30 - 15:00



Weekends at 15:00 - 16:30


Digital Guide

at all times

Rental fee 2,000 won
(Available for middle school
students and above)



Leeum Café & Leeum Shop

The Leeum Café and Leeum Shop are located in the lobby. The Leeum Café offers a selection of hot and cold beverages and snacks. Guests are also invited to use the Information Searching Service free of charge. In addition to catalogues, the Leeum Shop sells high quality gift items featuring the architecture, collection, and the Visual Identity of the museum.


- Visitors are requested to leave their coats and bags at the Cloak Room.
- Any food, beverage or pet should not be brought in the museum.
- Any photo or video film should not be taken in the museum.


Please visit webpage for information on exhibition, Education, Collection


Address : 60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 140-893

Location : Seoul-si > Yongsan-gu


(TEL) 02-2014-6901

From Hangangjin Station (Subway Line 6) Exit 1, walk straight for 100m towards Itaewon. Make a right turn at the first intersection and walk up the hill for about 3 minutes.

Public transportation is highly recommended due to limited parking space.
The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art opened, after several years of preparation, as an international art and cultural center for the display of both Korean art and world art. The late Hoam Lee Byung-chul, > READ MORE
The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art opened, after several years of preparation, as an international art and cultural center for the display of both Korean art and world art. The late Hoam Lee Byung-chul, the founder of Samsung, had displayed his beloved collections of Korean national treasures and art pieces in the Ho-Am Art Museum, Ho-Am Gallery, and the Rodin Gallery. Inheriting the founder’s will, Mr. Lee Kun-hee, the Chairman of Samsung, has been passionately collecting fine artworks of Korean and international contemporary artists, accumulating and preserving Korean treasures with a high historical value. Now, as a fruit of years of hard work, we are opening the Leeum, Samsung Museum or Art to share with you our outstanding art collection.

The architecture of our museum is a combination of three distinctive styles of three internationally renowned architects, designed to give you a satisfying artistic experience.

The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art has a Museum 1 and a Museum 2. Museum 1 houses Korean traditional art and Museum 2 exhibits works of art by Korean and international contemporary artists. Furthermore, these museums and the Samsung Child Education and Culture Center, which contributes to the education of future leaders, compose the composite complex. The buildings of The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art were designed by the internationally renowned architects Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas to combine the past, present, and future of art and culture, and are in themselves remarkable artistic experiences.

Leeum desires to be, as an artistic and cultural root, the center of Asian art, and desires to be a leader for the future.

Located on the slopes of the Namsan where you can enjoy nature in the city, The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is motivated towards developing Seoul as a city of international culture. It cultivates new cultural geographical structures that connect Seoul’s main cultural facilities, along with the National Museum of Korea and the National Theater. Welcoming the emerging global age, Leeum seeks to be a center of Asian art. It is a museum of new ideas, and bridges the East and the West, with its eye on the future. Please enjoy a new world of art and culture in Leeum, where the past and present coexist, and where art, culture, and people share an urban architectural space in harmony with nature. > Less more
Membership fee : 100,000 won per year

Membership Benefits

- Free entry to exhibitions at LEEUM, PLATEU and Ho-Am Art Museum,
including Hee-won
- Free rental of LEEUM's Digital Guide


20% discount on all LEEUM Education and Public Programs
10% discount at LEEUM Café
10% discount at Art Shops of LEEUM, PLATEAU and Ho-Am Art Museum


Invitation to Members Private Viewings of special exhibitions at LEEUM and other programs reserved for members only.
Receipt of LEEUM's quarterly newsletter
Receipt of Culture and I, a semiannual magazine issued by the Samsung Foundation of Culture


30% Special Concessions for College Students

LEEUM Membership is looking forward to getting closer to college students.Throughout the year of 2015, Leeum is offering a 30% discount on membership fee for college students including graduate students.
Special Fee for Students: 70,000 won per year
(January 1 ~ December 31, 2015 only)
Before making a payment, you need to provide us a document to prove your student status.

Benefits mentioned above are subject to change.
Registration for Members-Only programs may close early, and some programs may require a registration fee
For more information, please contact:+82 2 2014 6900 or leeum.membership@samsung.com
Mission Statement
Leeum analyzes and freshly interprets internationally renowned contemporary artworks that reflect new social values, Korean contemporary art that reflects current trends of Korea, and Korean traditional art that demonstrates past ideas of beauty and culture.
Our goal is to guide Korean art in a new direction and contribute to International art, creating a richer appreciation of both through our activities.

Core Activities

Leeum’s role is: as a bridge that links and bonds Korean and international art; providing an open education field where an audience can receive highly advanced information and knowledge; and accommodating a cultural playground where artists, researchers, and audiences are artistically inspired. As a creative foundation which contributes to the advance of art in our generation, we perform the following tasks:

Museum Identity

Visualizing the future by reinterpreting Eastern and Western traditions

The name Leeum is a combination of the family name of its founder, “Lee”, and the shortened word for museum, “um”. The museum’s logo visualizes the sequence of time connecting the past, present, and future.

The typography of the logo is a modern reinterpretation of ancient Roman engravings; the height of its capital and lowercase letters are the same. The timeline that cuts through the center of the characters symbolizes the Museum’s goal, which is to march towards the future on both the traditions of historical art and the developing trends of contemporary art. Additionally, the six colors of the traditional Korean color pallet were used to express the Museum’s focus, the “unification of time and space”.

The Museum Identity of Leeum, which is expressed in traditional yet dynamic images, was designed by Ms. Margot Perman at Real Design Associates (RDA), who has been developing the most successful brand identities of institutions in the world, such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the UNFPA.


The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art Interaction with living art

Located at Han Nam Dong on the slope of Namsan and flanked by the Hangang River, Leeum provides a uniquely harmonious view of nature and architecture. Museum 1, which occupies a site of 700 pyeong (1 pyeong is 3.3 m2.) with a total floor area of 3,000 pyeong, displays Korean traditional art, and Museum 2, on a site of 500 pyeong, with a total floor area of 1,500 pyeong, houses contemporary art. The Samsung Child Education & Culture Center, located at the entrance of Leeum, is built in an area of 1,200 pyeong with a total floor area of 3,900 pyeong. This Center is an educational facility for improving the creativity of future generations. Museum 1 and Museum 2 showcase critically acclaimed artworks. Unlike Museum 1 and 2, The Samsung Child Education & Culture Center, which has educational and exhibition functions, is a free space for contemporary and future art. Each of the three buildings was designed with innovative techniques that reflect each architect’s strong characters.

Mario Botta visualized the beauty of Korean porcelain by using terra cotta tiles, which symbolize earth and fire. Jean Nouvel used glass and rusted stainless steel, for the first time anywhere, to express high technology in contemporary art. Rem KoolHaas used unusual materials, such as black concrete, to make a black box, and designed a futuristic architectural space that appears to be floating in the air.