Daily devotion to a new kind of chic

‘Many places in southern Seoul are pretentious and ridiculously expensive. I wanted Daily Projects to be a comfortable place where everybody would feel welcome.’

July 31,2007
The newly opened Daily Projects complex in southern Seoul aims to feature a variety of cultural elements such as artist-designed T-shirts.
Decades-old Korean fashion brand Lee Dong Soo F&G never looked as young and trendy as it did on the night its original headquarters reopened in Apgujeong-dong, southern Seoul.
Maintaining most of the original minimalist structure the apparel company’s manufacturing operations once occupied, the seven-story building has been reborn as Daily Projects, a hip new addition to Seoul’s scene.
Roaming around the new space sipping red wine were Seoul’s 20-somethings, dressed in concert T-shirts and skinny jeans. This crowd is usually found on artsy Hongdae streets but they were drawn to sculptures by English artist Julian Opie, a rare performance by the local sound artist Vemo, a concert by jazz band Bopster Scat and a session by breakbeat disc jockey Kuma.
While planning to reopen the building to the public, Lee Jung-hee, the president of Daily Projects, wanted to create a conceptually new, inviting destination. Construction began in January. “Many new places, especially in southern Seoul, are very pretentious and ridiculously expensive for what they offer,” said Lee, one of four daughters of the late Lee Dong-soo, the company’s creator. “I wanted Daily Projects to be a comfortable place where old and young, Koreans or foreigners, could do ordinary things like eat, drink, read or relax.”

Mixed-media performances, modern art and iced latte.
With an intriguing facade and a rare construction style for the area at the time, the Lee Dong Soo Building stood out when it first opened in 1993. It was designed by a team of Korean and Japanese architects including Lee Du-yeol, Choi Jeong-hoon, Kim Chang-gyeong and Rikuo Nishimori. Each floor has a spacious 1,287 square meters, and the building’s structure still looks surprisingly contemporary. A few visible updates include the interior floor plan, which was redesigned to allow for a circular flow of human traffic. This innovation cost around 100 million won (about $109,000), according to the publicist.
Pointing at her own black shirt, which was made by a Korean artist, Lee stressed that the most important part of the project is to support young experimental artists in Korea through various cultural events under the title “Daily Monster.”
The opening event kicked off with an exhibition and sale of fashion pieces by six local artists. Fhifan, a Japanese-Korean model and disc jockey, for example, submitted his own designs for shirts and jackets. He was elated to be one of the judges at the T-shirt competition awards held last week.
Along with funky, locally-designed shirts, there are imported garments and accessories at the shop, which tend to be pricier. Proceeds from the sales are used to support future cultural events, Lee said. All five winners of the T-shirt competition received cash prizes. The first prize was 2 million won and the other four received 500,000 won each.
Daily Monster managers were excited by an unexpected outcome of the event: The participating artists were noticed by industry professionals who offered them jobs.
Lee’s idea to rejuvenate her father’s aging fashion company came after his sudden death from cancer in 2002. After launching the label “Tricia” in 1965, the late Lee’s career, as with most of Korea’s first-generation designers, peaked in the 1980s in a market that banned import of foreign products. While most designers were busy dressing affluent housewives, Lee wanted Korean golfers to tee off in style. To this day, Lee Dong-soo remains a household name for golfwear, and his company has supported a string of leading professional female golfers including Lee Mi-na, Hong Jin-ju and Kim Jin-ju. But now his fans are in their 50s or older, and his widow and four grown-up daughters want the brand to capture a new generation of fashion followers. Having studied fashion at the Parsons School of Design in New York, the 33-year-old Lee has a grand plan to implement.
To meet the demands of a diverse clientele, Lee and her staff plan to offer different services on each floor. The select shop, the showcase space and a private beauty salon, which are on the second floor, are designed to cater to high-end customers who want imported fur coats, diamonds and bejeweled evening gowns. When the art gallery on the third floor opens next year, customers can decorate their homes with modern art. Plans also include a boutique hotel on the fifth and sixth floors, a spa and gym on the seventh floor and a function space on the rooftop.

Offer upscale fashion on the second floor. By Ines Cho
The young and energetic chief executive now uses a small notepad, but as she travels more she might need a Blackberry as her notepad teems with things to do. The circled phrase “cold pasta” stands out on one page. It’s an idea for the casual restaurant due to open in December. Lee envisions a center for the city’s most creative minds perusing over 70 concept magazines in the lounge. Pointing to the phrase “flea market,” she says a bimonthly open sales event held in the courtyard, will bring a real sense of community to Daily Projects. Imagining her two-week shopping spree in New York this week, Lee cannot help but smile at the thought of making Daily Projects a better place.

Daily Projects is located at the Hakdong junction in Sinsa-dong. The Daily Monster T-shirt exhibition runs until Thursday. The new show of works by local artists called “401by” starts on Aug. 13. For more information call Daily Projects at 02-3444-8132~3 or visit the Web site, www.dailymonster.co.kr.

By Ines Cho Contributing Writer [inescho@joongang.co.kr]

dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장