The Herald Design Forum 2020 is underway at Paradise City in Incheon on Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
The annual Herald Design Forum kicked off Thursday morning, marking its 10th edition by envisioning how design could change the world in the coming decade.
Under the slogan “Another 10 Years,” the largest design forum in Asia brought together prominent designers, architects, artists, curators and directors. The event was held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 1,400 participants livestreaming the sessions. In compliance with the government’s social distancing rules, distinguished guests and speakers, including Jungheung Construction Vice Chairman Jung Won-ju and Herald Corp. Vice Chairman Jeon Byung-ho, gathered in person at Paradise City in Incheon.
In his opening remarks, Herald Corp. CEO Kwon Chung-won reflected on the past 10 years and how design experts around the world had shared their ideas and insights, shedding light on design’s boundless territory, impacting people’s lives as well as the development of a city and a country.
Online participants listen to Ron Arad's keynote speech during the Herald Design Forum. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
He called on the participants to embrace change, especially now that the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to accept the “new normal.”
“Due to the COVID-19, the new normal era is bringing us new challenges. There will be even more transformations in the future, and we expect to witness big changes in the world of design, which is known for its creativity, has extraordinary dreams and enjoys challenges,” said Kwon in the opening address. “We will experience various adventures, challenges and successes and a new design world here today. Through hearing from design gurus that will lead the next 10 years, we hope to have a new dream that will challenge us for the next 10 years.”
Renowned figures from South Korea and overseas sent congratulatory messages via video to celebrate the forum’s 10th edition. The first forum took place in 2011 with the title “Design Changes the World.”
“At this time when COVID-19 is spreading around the world, the design’s influence will increase even further, and our life will become even more beautiful through design,” Culture Minister Park Yang-woo said in a video message. “I hope this event serves as a channel to start a great discourse on how design can solve the COVID-19 impact.”
Incheon Mayor Park Nam-choon expressed hope that a new path would be presented in the field of design that can improve the quality of life.
“Based on the agenda discussed at the Herald Design Forum, I will work hard for the development of public design and enhance value of the city’s brand image.”
Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, joined the forum from New York City, stressing that nature is the most important aspect of design for the future, citing American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the museum, as an example.
“You recognize how crucial nature is to Wright’s vision,” he said while showing Wright’s iconic spiral ramp of the museum, which was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. “I think that’s one of the issues the designers will confront more comprehensively over the next decade -- our relationship with nature.”
He also stressed how good design has the ability to conjure up space, mentioning how US artist James Turrell used light to reconfigure the museum’s skylight, or “Oculus,” to create a magical atmosphere that attracted thousands of visitors to the institution.
“Designers have a great capacity to do this on a daily basis, to offer a kind of magical re-imagination of the things around us,” he said.
Armstrong then showed the design of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which is slated to open on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates’ capital, to become the Guggenheim’s largest outpost.
“Abu Dhabi (is) set to open a few years from now with the spectacular setting on the Arabian Gulf, with these very beautiful and distinct cone shapes, intersecting galleries that will be among the largest for contemporary art in the world and certainly will offer a great setting for a collection that we would argue is probably the most thorough view of contemporary art from around the world,” he said.
Herald Corp. Chairman Jung Won-ju (second from left) and participants applaud during the Herald Design Forum 2020. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
This year’s forum delves into a wide range of topics from architecture, fashion and art to media design, advertising and urban development.
Acclaimed industrial designer Ron Arad spoke on “Whats and Ifs” in his keynote speech, stressing that his ideas begin with curiosity, with the question “what if?”
Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director at Serpentine Galleries in London and one of the most influential curators in the world, gave a speech titled “Toward a New Era of Social Imagination,” stressing connection and “going beyond the two dimensions of screen,” in design and art especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tomas Saraceno, an artist known for participating in the “Connect, BTS” project, talked about the future of design under the title “Free the Air -- Aerocene.”
The forum featured a stellar local lineup, including architect Kim Chan-joong, head of The_System Lab, a Seoul-based architecture firm, who talked about “Making Story” through architecture. Renowned creative director Jung Kuho, talked about understanding evolution of design, referring to his own career spanning graphic design, food and beverages industry, interior, fashion and performing arts.
D’strict CEO Lee Sung-ho, Dolphiners Films CEO Shin Woo-seok and Z_Lab architect Noh Kyung-rok also shared their philosophies and ideas on the stage.
A Q&A session followed, during which Saraceno, Arad and Obrist answered questions from the online attendees in real time.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com