MoMA Store brings elegance, whimsy to household design

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MoMA Store brings elegance, whimsy to household design


“James The Bookend” by the London-based design firm black + blum is a play on their popular “James The Doorman.”

You’ve just stepped off a flight from Incheon at JFK International Airport. You’ve never been to New York before, but you’re an art lover, and you have two days to seek out the best the city has to offer. You’ll probably spend one of them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other at the Museum of Modern Art, better known as MoMA.

Established in 1929, MoMA has a collection of more than 200,000 pieces: paintings, sculptures, photographs, even architectural blueprints and product designs.

Even the museum’s store is a world-famous institution in and of itself. The MoMA Design Store dates back to 1939, when a small counter opened in the lobby to sell products to visitors. It has now grown into a global chain, with three stores in New York and one in Tokyo, plus three online storefronts operating in the United States, Japan and Korea. The online shop ( recently clocked over 1.8 million visitors since opening in 2004.

But what if you can’t get to New York, but you still want a peek at these unique, often bizarre products?


The “Clips Sparrow” puts a whimsical touch on the clothesline clip. Provided by Hyundai Card/Privia

In Korea, local credit card issuer Hyundai Card operates the online branch, bringing about 1,000 pieces from the main MoMA Design Store to its site ( as part of its customer service rewards brand, Privia.

So far these pieces have only been available online, but that’s about to change, with the MoMA curators selecting about 300 items to go on display at the first public exhibition by the MoMA Design Store in Seoul starting this weekend.

The event will feature 100 new pieces for the 2010 spring season and about 200 perennial best sellers from the past four years. The lineup will include personal accessories, office supplies, items for the home, kitchen utensils, furniture, lighting and toys for kids.

“You will see various unique items that can improve the quality and style of your daily life through design,” the card issuer, which organized the event, wrote in a statement.

Many of the products in the Seoul collection are part of the “Spring at Home” collection currently being sold at the MoMA online store, which showcases colorful products that take inspiration from the season and from nature.

The collection also includes a pair of humorous bookends that look like a person pushing a pile of books (“James The Bookend”), cute clips used to hang clothes featuring a bird-shaped design (“Clips Sparrow”), and a jelly-like, splashy watch (“Watch Uncoordinated”).


The “Watch Uncoordinated” is made from silicone for a soft feel. Provided by Hyundai Card/Privia

“Advanced design has become crucial, so much so that it affects not only the industrial fields, but also seemingly trivial items for the home and personal accessories,” said Kim Soo-young, an official at Hyundai Card-Privia. “The exhibition will offer the Korean public an opportunity to see novel designs from modern art designers around the world.”

*The exhibit is open only Fridays through Sundays, starting this weekend until April 4 on the first floor of the Fiore Building in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. Take subway line No. 7 to Gangnam District Office Station, exit 3. The items are for viewing only. Purchases can only be made online. For detailed information or to buy the products, visit the Web site www.moma

Park Sun-young []
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