A feast of modern art and design

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A feast of modern art and design

Design House Korea has opened the doors of the Hangaram Design Museum for the Hot Style Seoul Design Festival 2004. Design specialists from Italy, Sweden, Australia and China have shown up for this highly acclaimed annual event, which began Friday and runs until Sunday.
It’s a multicultural experience of stylish forms of modern art and design with the talent of rising and established designers such as Korea’s habitant and Sweden’s Thomas Bernstrand.
Sony’s special presentation combines a panoply of shapes and sounds. The first part of the exhibit has a large, wide screen Sony HDTV displaying the digital content done by habitant.
A thin walkway leads into a separate room. The lights have been turned down to create a dim atmosphere, and yet the colors and intensity of the presentation and design are overwhelming.
Habitant brings together high technical skill and colorfully accented creative ideas. The entire piece is an abstract expressive clip that creates a sensation of awe and bliss in those who choose to stay and observe this bizarre spectacle, a waltz of shades and hues with music composed by Dalparan.
Although the digital video is impressive, the traditional designers also have a lot to offer. In particular, a company known as ADRACKS caught my eye. Their approach can be summed up in one word: innovative.
ADRACKS truly understands how to use a simplistic scheme of design in their work. While aesthetically pleasing, it also has a distinctiveness and clarity unmatched by most other design firms in the nation.
If one stands back from the exhibit a bit and looks at their “ad rack,” one can see that they have arranged advertisements in such a way that their logo is drawn. I suppose this is meant to send some sort of subliminal message ― an underlying advertisement for ADRACKS. But in any case it is a brilliantly arranged piece of work.
These designs were part of the “Korean Style” section. “For most people, ‘Korean style’ conjures up images of traditional Korean designs. The designers in this festival have taken concepts from traditional designs and made them new. This is the future of Korean design,” says Kang Jin-hee, design gallery coordinator.
The Australian exhibit is, to say the least, colorful. In fact, the thematic name that the museum decided to give it is “emphasis on color.”
Indeed, to see a dazzling display of colorful ecstasy play across one’s eyes, the Australian exhibit is the place to be.
Italian designers, on the other hand, have taken a more sophisticated, practical approach. Delving into the field of interior design, their products are crisp and delightful, a joy to look at. So joyful, in fact, that I even had the temptation ― which of course I resisted ― to appropriate one of the chairs from the exhibit.
At the Swedish exhibit, one encounters a headless, limbless mannequin with huge breasts. A “humorous approach,” festival organizers call it. By its side was a projection of a man with a gigantic belly. It was quite humorous indeed.
The China section is small, but that is intentional. The exhibit is set up to be only an introduction, since next year’s Design Festival will emphasize Chinese designs.
Seoul Design Festival 2004 is recommended for all those who are interested in art or design. Products designed by the artists are on sale outside the exhibit, and Sony has an electronics booth set up.

by Ian Choe
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