An aerial view shows Seoul Living Design Fair 2022, held at Coex in southern Seoul from Wednesday to Sunday. (SLDF)
With the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, life for many has come to a standstill. As people spend more time at home, a growing number of them have turned their eyes to home furnishings and decorations.
When South Korea’s daily coronavirus cases hit an all-time high of 171,452 on Wednesday, hundreds visited the Seoul Living Design Fair, the country’s largest annual exhibition for interior and household-related brands, which kicked off its five-day run on the same day at Coex in southern Seoul.
More than 300 brands from home and abroad -- including Simmons Bedding Company, Maison Archive and Lexus Korea -- that are at the forefront interior design and lifestyle trends are showing their wares at the fair, divided into three separate areas.
It took more than three hours to take a casual look around. The guide map was of little help in locating specific booths as they were not numbered.
The biggest change this year is in home furniture trends. Rather than highlighting designs, many brands focused on comfort and practicality. Eco-friendly interiors was another big trend.
People wait in line to enter the booth of 82 Villiers at Seoul Living Design Fair 2022 on Wednesday. (Jie Ye-eun/The Korea Herald)
82 Villiers, a furnishing brand launched by CJ ENM this year, was a crowd favorite. While the company’s some 60 products were introduced to the public for the first time at the fair, people lined up to look at its furniture highlighting the concepts of soft minimalism and naturalism.
Under the theme of “Re-being, The Life of Re-thinking environment,” Lexus Korea displayed craftworks made of coal briquette ashes, polystyrene, discarded clothes and plastic bags. It also introduced the company’s electric vehicle, LF-Z Electrified.
Simmons Bedding Company’s merchandise series in collaboration and own goods are on display at “Simmons Grocery Store” at Seoul Living Design Fair 2022. (Jie Ye-eun/The Korea Herald)
Another must-see booth is run by Simmons. The mattress maker’s area took up about 660 square meters. Not only demonstrating its mattress’ solidness using a heavy roller tester, the company also prepared a space-out zone decorated with green turf and topiary trees as rest area.
Young visitors flocked to the Simmons Grocery Store, a goods store selling Simmons’ own goods and unique merchandise that it has produced in collaboration with local businesses in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. Due to its immense popularity, on-site reservations were mandatory just to get into the store.
“Many people said that they knew about our brand as a mattress seller before coming to the fair. Some of them were surprised to see that we were selling bedspreads,” a Simmons Bedding Company official at the fair told The Korea Herald. “The charcuterie concept goods store is part of our socializing project that is aimed at expanding our brand’s omnibus,” the official added.
Designer Jong Kim’s “Con-sol-ation” exhibition at Seoul Living Design Fair 2022 (Jie Ye-eun/The Korea Herald)
The other highlight at the fair is the Designers’ Choice section, where designers Kim Hye-jin and Jong Kim are holding exhibitions titled “Walden 2022” and “Con-sol-ation,” respectively, suggesting the industry‘s key trends for this year.
Statistics Korea predicted the country’s home furnishing industry to grow to 18 trillion won ($15 billion) by next year. Including home interior and remodeling industries, the market is expected to reach about 40 trillion won, the state-run agency said.
“We are still facing difficulties in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the local home furnishing and decoration market has grown, fueled by growing consumer demand. The number of local brands participating has increased remarkably this year,“ said Byun Sun-min, team leader of the fairs and events division at the fair’s co-host company Design House.
By Jie Ye-eun (email@example.com