say hi to_ South Korea
If you have been following us the past few months than you already know that our obsession with South Korean Design has lead us to be involved in and host a plethora of events, workshops and installations on the subject, both here in Paris and in Seoul. I had the opportunity to visit Seoul twice this autumn and winter to be a jury member in Design Korea 2017 and again to speak about Design Trends for 2018 at Home Table Deco Fair. Between those two trips, I had three and a half weeks to discover the exciting experimental art furniture scene and all that new center for design in Asia, Seoul, had to offer.
When you think of South Korea you may think of KPOP and beauty products, which more or less stop the aging process (which is also exciting), but I hope we have shed light on an even more thrilling face to South Korea’s creative takeover - their experimental creative art and furniture scene.
After the Korean War, with a need to focus on rebuilding the economy, South Korea’s creative energy and output came to a standstill; focusing then on efficient industrial design rather than creative experimentalism. Standing in the shadow of Japanese Design, which has held the throne for creativity in design in Asia for as long as we can remember - South Korea is now seeing a creative revolution which is not only breeding a whole new generation of experimental creatives but redefining the image and ethos of modern Korean Design and bringing them to the forefront of compelling design in Asia.
One of the leading themes we see throughout the work of all of the new generation of fine artists and creatives which we feature here is a connection between the natural world and materials juxtaposed against stark modernity in form as well as material. We see playful forms, experimental uses of natural materials such as lava stone and raw wood mixed with colorful resin and shiny metallics. We have the avant-garde and pure minimalism in one.
Between the bright neon lights, gritty artsy neighbourhoods in Seoul such as Itaewon and Seongdonggu, the outgoing and hospitable vibes from the local people - Seoul has quickly become one of the most inspiring creative capital cities globally. I wanted to highlight a few of game-changing creatives coming out of Seoul at the moment, locally grown lifestyle brands by young entrepreneurs and some of my favourite spots to check out when I am in town.
During Maison et Objet this year, the South Korean Ministry of Culture and the Korea Traditional Culture Center brought over an exhibition to showcase a new generation of craftsmen. One of the most intriguing aspects of the exhibition was that they paired veteran traditional artisans and some of the most interesting new contemporary designers to work together on a six-month collaboration. Each team was to collaborate on a totally new object, using the designer's vision and the craftsmen's technique and know-how.
Drawing back from what we see in the new wave of experimental creative movements in fine art furniture and design, we see this exhibtion play with the concept of combining tradition and modernity.