Trimmen in Jeju: An Island Retreat

Restore balance in this floating monument designed for rest

04 November 2023, Written by Stephanie Peh
Photographed by Hanna Kim

Situated on the foot of Mount Hallasan in Seogwipo-si on Jeju island, Trimmen is a standalone house created by travellers, for travellers. The name "Trimmen" originates from a German word, which refers to the concept of "balance aimed at restoring mental, physical, and daily equilibrium through rest."

From a distance, Trimmen resembles a floating monument or a mountain. Its triangular architectural form is supported by a recessed structure or "gap" that connects the roof to the ground. "TRIMMEN breaks down the boundaries between interior and exterior through the fissures between earth and roof," reveals the designer, Formative Architects, a Seoul-based firm that endeavours to evoke human emotions and reflection through their work.

Crossing the arched door of Trimmen, the space remains relatively undefined, allowing nature to meld in—framed by a 360-degree panoramic window that blurs the demarcation between the inside and outside. Surrounded by the expansive fields of Jeju, the serene environment imparts a profound sense of peaceful emptiness, echoing the host’s intention to invite guests to harmonise travel and everyday living.

Like the four seasons of Jeju, time spent at the Trimmen may be fleeting but quality time spent on self-care yields enduring effects. Be it admiring the distant sea bathed in the hues of the sunset from the outdoor bathtub, reading a book by the fireplace or enjoying the act of preparing a simple meal in the kitchen, Trimmen was conceived based on the principle that travel is not the antithesis of daily existence. Travel should be perceived as a part of living—each experience enriching the other.

Guests are encouraged to reside freely in the Trimmen, as they would at home. Three tea blends have been crafted by the owners for different times of the day. In the heart of the space, a spiral staircase unfurls, leading to the second-floor bedroom, which overlooks the sea. If one is lucky, Southern right whales or dolphins may be seen swimming gracefully in the distance. If not, the sunrise or sunset of Jeju Island is an equally majestic sight to behold.

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