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People pack forum in pursuit of creativity

Forum opens with over 1,000 participants

Design lovers and enthusiasts packed the second annual Herald Design Forum on Thursday, eager to tune into what top international design gurus had to say during the two-day event.

The forum, which invited prominent figures in the field of design as key speakers, kicked off its first day with an opening session attended by representatives from the local government, business and cultural sectors.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik and Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, gave their congratulatory messages, stressing the competitiveness of design in various areas.

Herald Design Forum 2012 gets underway at COEX Auditorium in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Herald Design Forum 2012 gets underway at COEX Auditorium in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Some other well-known guests included KB Financial Group chairman Euh Yoon-dae, Jun Kwang-woo, chairman of the National Pension Service, Kenya Ambassador Ngovi Kitau, Paraguay Ambassador Ceferino Valdez and Alain Lonay, director of design at Renault Samsung Motors.

“Design management and design thinking are becoming today’s trend and the design war is being spotlighted nowadays. The global design battle staged between Samsung Electronics and Apple is a case that shows the power of design,” said Jungwook Hong, chairman of Herald Corp., in a welcome message to about 1,000 people. “Design has become the core of national and corporate competitiveness and we will deliver insights from international design gurus who have an enormous impact on our society.”

Tadao Ando, a renowned Japanese architect, told the audience that an Asian era is currently being established, spreading from the West.

“Many different constructions are being built at fast speed and we now need to think about the importance of nature surrounding us. We need to think how we could make social contributions,” said Ando.

While discussing his projects carried out in many different cities and nations, he also urged the younger generation to not fear taking on challenges.

Kenya Hara, art director of Japan’s major retailer Muji, emphasized the need to communicate and connect with the consumers when developing product design.

Stating that Muji’s designs are based on “emptiness” rather than simplicity, the retailer now has hundreds of stores in Japan and overseas, displaying over 7,000 items, according to Hara, who has served as the firm’s art director for the past decade.

Another local design guru, Joon Oh! of Hyundai Card, said in his session that design is the first activity that should be launched by a company to gain its own identity.

“Many believe that design is a factor to consider at the final stage, following the rise of profit and growth in scale for a company, but it should be the very first one to consider in order for the firm to find its own identity,” he said.

Oh! also said that a successful company is one that is loved by the public and that it is good design that is in demand for that to happen.

Press conferences of Hara and notable car designers Chris Bangle and Peter Schreyer as well as two special sessions also took place on the sidelines of the main event.

Contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang engaged in arts talk with independent curator Yun Chea-gab about how Zhang was able to define himself through art over the years from 1983-2012.

“I found my artistic roots as I began realizing which way I wanted to go in arts,” he said.

In a mentoring session for college students, Park Seo-won, who is the chief executive of advertising firm Big Ant International, told the audience that the simplest method to address a problem was to think simple.

“When they hear the word ‘creative’ people think that it’s something they can’t even begin to approach, but in reality it’s nothing,” said Park. “Ideas come from what you hear, feel, experience and see in everyday life.”

By Cho Ji-hyun

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