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[Herald Design Forum 2016] Future of design industry hinges on convergence

Design is more than just a tool for expressing aesthetics. Boosted by fast-changing technology and talented innovators, design is one of the core factors that affect not only the identity of products and brands, but also people‘s everyday lives.

Global design gurus emphasize that the future of the industry depends on how designers incorporate design into other fields, suggesting that the design industry is limitless.

“The philosophy of the future is ‘convergence,’ which is the title of my show next year at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Converging one with the other, from environmental issues, material resources, new additive technology, digital design, to core human values of why something should or could exist, will dominate the design industry in the future,” renowned UK industrial designer Ross Lovegrove said in an interview with The Korea Herald.

The convergence of design with other sectors has become increasingly common, experts said.

“Since the 1950s, collaborating with independent designers and architects is typical for all Italian design factories,” said Alberto Alessi who leads the Italian houseware brand Alessi. “It proved to be the only way to find excellence in design. If you are looking for the absolute best, you need to be able to fish in a wide ocean,” he added.

While many recognize the importance of design convergence, they stressed that education and the government have essential roles to play.

“It all comes down to education, including design education. I believe a tiered design education can identify and nurture talented and creative designers, where they can also explore their capabilities on their own,” said Dick Powell, co-founder and chairman of design and innovation company Seymourpowell.

Powell added that government support for the growth of the design industry is significant.

“Government can help a lot, as it can be a strong voice for the design industry and provide information on everything it can do from education to trade to promotion,” said Powell.

Some suggested that designers should participate in the initial stages of policy-making, as the design industry can help lead the economy as well as social trends.

“Designers should be invited to sit at the board level in determining industrial strategies instead of being commissioned for a one-off project,” said Lovegrove.

Eight global design gurus, including Lovegrove, Alessi and Powell will share their visions and experiences at the 6th Herald Design Forum, slated for Nov. 8 in Seoul. Under the theme of “Design for Convergence,“ they will discuss how they have combined design with IT and business.

The annual event is organized by Herald Corp., the publisher of The Korea Herald, to bring together some of the world’s most respected names in design to discuss the influence that design has on everyday life and industry.

By Lee Hyun-jeong  (