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Herald Design Forum provokes inquiring minds

Design sheds light on future of society and businesses

Participants wait in line for tickets at Herald Design Forum. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Participants wait in line for tickets at Herald Design Forum. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
The Herald Design Forum posed questions and highlighted the importance of design in modern society, forum attendants said Tuesday.

However, the emotions and thoughts they took away from the event appeared to be as diverse as the fields influenced by design.

The forum, part of the Herald Design Week that kicked off on Monday with The Korea Herald’s 60th anniversary celebration, was held for the third time in Seoul on Tuesday. 

Approximately 900 audience members fill the seats of Blue Square for the Herald Design Forum on Tuesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Approximately 900 audience members fill the seats of Blue Square for the Herald Design Forum on Tuesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
As with the previous two installments, the forum attracted a large crowd of design aficionados and opinion leaders -- with more than 670 of the 900 or so ticket holders entering before the start of the first lecture by the award-winning architect Toyo Ito of Japan.

Along with the students of design and those working or simply interested in related fields, the Herald Design Forum was attended by a large number of high-profile figures ranging from business leaders to politicians.

“(The lectures) showed the design trends that are leading the world today, and that design is the most advanced domain of human society,” Kang Kum-sil, a former justice minister, said after Toyo Ito’s lecture “Be Better By Design: Our Responsibilities as Designers.”

She added that the field of design appears to be expressing the direction economic and social developments are headed before any other sector of society. Adding that such aspects of design are the product of “philosophical thinking” on the part of the designers, Kang said that she found the lectures “deeply moving and beneficial.”

“Human society has entered the ecological age, and (the field of design) already shows that human must advance in a direction that is in step with and communicates with nature. The biggest task now is how we will apply such changes to our society.”

For business leaders, however, the same series of lectures appeared to have delivered a set of very different ideas.

“In the Stefano Giovannoni presentation, he showed that he now creates beautiful designs from cheap materials, when he used to work with colorful and new materials,” Kim Shin-han, senior executive vice president of Daesung, said.

Giovannoni is an Italian industrial designer and architect who took to the podium in the second session of Tuesday’s event to speak about brand identity.

“The fact that (society) has returned to basic materials that were rejected before the economic downturn also made an impression.”

Kim added that although he is relatively new to the subject of design and its significance in wider society, the lectures aided him in understanding various aspects of design.

Kim says that the lectures gave him insight into the mechanism of design influencing people’s emotions.

For others, speakers from outside the field of design appear to have left the biggest impression.

“This year’s selection of lecturers, like the Kumaran brothers, was incredible, which distinguished the Herald Design Forum from other events. I had the rare opportunity to discuss ideas with those kinds of people,” said Kim Jung-won, a senior assistant manager of CEO forum team FKI-International Management Institute. Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran, 13 and 12 years old, respectively, are the world’s youngest business leaders, operating their own mobile applications company.

The Herald Design Forum’s lectures by leading designers and entrepreneurs were accompanied by the Herald Design Market.

The Herald Design Market, which will continue until Friday, showcases products created by more than 80 designers and companies. The products range from clothing and accessories to interior decorations and organic food stuffs.

“If London Design Festival focuses on the hardware, we aimed to (stage an event) that acts as the software that brings designs from across the world,” Herald Corp. chairman Jungwook Hong said. “This is the step in the right direction.”

The Herald Design Market, which is open to the general public, attracted visitors as diverse as the products on display. Visitors ranged from the mother of a son studying design at university who described the designs on display as “fresh while being simple,” to passersby and young students on the prowl for “cute” and “pretty” items.

By Choi He-suk (
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