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[Design Forum] An inspiration for aspirants

Inspiration-seeking designers attended a design forum in Seoul on Wednesday to listen to dignitaries from around the world explain how they drew up original ideas during their youth.

Speakers included Rem Koolhaas, Matthew Cockerill, Alexander Schill and engineer-turned designer Daniel Kim, among the 10 experts who shared their thoughts at the annual Herald Design Forum, now in its fourth year.

This year’s forum title is “Expanding the definition of design,” and will discuss the influence of design on politics, economy and culture.

Many of the 850 or so attendees said they were looking for indications of what the next design trend in their industries would be.

Lee So-hyun, a designer of home electronics products at Haan Corporation, said she was especially fascinated by the concept of “re-destroying,” a way of rethinking a specific product’s usage.

“I even took notes,” Lee said as she chuckled about how she wanted to get Koolhaas’ autograph.

“The material discussed at the forum is related to what I design, so I came here for a kind of educational experience,” Lee said.
The audience listens to a speaker at the Herald Design Forum 2014. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)
The audience listens to a speaker at the Herald Design Forum 2014. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)

A Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency employee, who did not want to give her name, said she attended the forum to get ideas about the coming vogue. Her job involves designing booths and other interior design for exhibitions and public showcases.

“I’ve come to the HDF for the fourth consecutive year because there is a lot that I can really relate to,” she said. “I’m here looking for anything that can tell me the next trend.”

The KOTRA worker said she especially enjoyed lectures by Koolhaas and artist Chris Riggs.

Other attendees appeared interested in the talk by fashion designer Olivier Theyskens, with one woman expressing her reverence of the Belgian stylist.

“I just love ‘Theory,’” she said in reference to one of the brands that the designer has worked on during his career.

Outside the main forum stage at the Dream, Design, Play center in the Dongdaemun District of Seoul, design firms opened a “design market” to sell items ranging from smartphone cases to cinnamon jams as a part of activities at the 2014 HDF.

But voices expressing some discontent could be heard as well.

Product designers from LG Electronics said the talks appeared to be more focused on architecture, and that some of the speakers appeared very keen to advertise their brands or companies.

The designers, however, said they enjoyed listening to Daniel Kim, a former CEO of Nexon America and current Asia head of Daylight Design. Kim said during his talk that the concept of “hong-ik,” which can be roughly translated as “benefiting the public interest,” was a key theme in his design work.

“Kim’s words seemed to tell us that companies do not always have to chase profits,” the LG employee said, asking not to be named.

By Jeong Hunny (hj257@heraldcorp.com)
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