The Herald Design Market showcases design products of young up-and-coming Korean designers. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
The biggest merit of living in the age of design, perhaps, is the accessibility and affordability of goods for everyone.
About 80 talented young designers set up tables under their own brand names at the Herald Design Market, showcasing everyday items with sophisticated designs.
The products were displayed in a colorful, three-storied container building, an open patio of the Blue Square in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Items on sale varied from fashion accessories to interior ornaments to subway pass holders. Smartphone decks and zombie candle sticks were also on display at the four-day market.
Herald Corp. chairman Jungwook Hong looks at products showcased at the Herald Design Market. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
One of the vendors was Antenna Shop, a maker of designed bags, notepads and other office goods. “We came here to promote our brand rather than selling the products. Today, we met more clients than we expected. This is a good opportunity for us,” said Kim Surl, a designer of Antenna Shop.
Other intriguing products displayed at the Herald Design Market included a foldable conical light shade and book-rests made of wire in the shape of dogs.
The foldable light shade, produced by YdesignY, has a zipper in the middle that allows the cone to be easily assembled and dissembled, like a piece of paper. The zipper also acts as an anchor that allows the shade to be attached to the light bulb.
The wire book-rest, called Mori, produced by the Seoul-based design firm Studio ALB, takes the form of a dog whose legs are spread apart to create a stable, triangular shape. The dog holds the book, keeping it clean, without mixing up the pages.
“They have so many cute and pretty things here. I cannot decide what to buy, because obviously I cannot buy everything I see here,” said a young girl who visited the Herald Design Market with her friends.
Young designers also came to browse works of their counterparts in different fields.
“I am a designer myself, but I was pleasantly surprised to see and be inspired by designs in other industries,” said Lee Eun-hye, 25, a designer of graphic user interface, an indispensable part of smartphone design.
For Lee and hundreds of other spectators, the Herald Design Market was also more than just an exhibition of creatively-designed products. Mystery gift box sales and a food decoration show were highlights of the event.
At the market Lee bought a mystery gift box ― simply out of curiosity, she admitted ― in which she found a small, yellow-green plastic object. The unidentified gizmo turned out to be a smile-maker, a kind of dental appliance that lifts the corners of one’s mouth into a smile.
Some of those who purchased the mystery gift box found a coupon that could be exchanged for products sold in the market.
Chef Kim Yong-hui demonstrates creative plating at the Herald Design Market’s Food Deco Show.(Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Another special event-du-jour was the Herald Food Deco Show, a culinary performance by star chef Kim Yong-hui.
“You can think of the show as a gardening experience; you‘re arranging the foods in an orderly and creative way. For example, the panna cottas and the pistachio sponges we will be making (in the show) will be a portrayal of the fusion of modern and eco-friendly images found in foods,” the chef said, stressing that even non-experts could easily imitate what they saw at his show.
“I guess the experience can be also thought of as drawing on a blank sketch book, or trying to draw nature. The show will attempt to demonstrate the fundamentals and basics of plating,” he added.
The Herald Design Market was well-received by several business executives.
“The Herald showed us an excellent opportunity. It is time that we, as corporate executives, consider ways to give the young people more opportunities to present novel ideas and suggestions,” said Kim Shin-han, senior vice president of Daesung.
“Daesung is also engaged in the hotel business, and at the opening ceremony of our hotel, Daniel Boulud advised us to hire many young chefs who could understand and share the style of the young customers,” he added. Daniel Boulud, best known for Daniel, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in New York City, is one of the most respected chefs worldwide.
“The reason younger designers are needed is because designers need to be able to understand and share the values the young people have. The corporate community should be paying close attention to such windows of opportunity, and it is great that Herald is taking the first step in that direction with the Herald Design Market,” Kim said.
By Chung Joo-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)