Fairs offer glimpse at top Korean craftware trends

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Fairs offer glimpse at top Korean craftware trends

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The Craft Trend Fair being held at COEX’s Hall A exhibits master artisan Sohn Dae-hyun’s collaboration work with Korea’s luxury handcrafts brand Cheyul, left, and brassware artisan Kim Soo-young’s works, right. [KCDF]

The season of house parties and family gatherings is approaching, and party hosts may be stressed out over just how to make their homes look at their best. The littlest details, from how to set tables to how to plate food, have people out looking for new ideas and even new products.

Just in time, three fairs are ongoing for those who want to see the latest trends in crafts and designs and perhaps bring something home.

At the Craft Trend Fair 2016 which kicked off its four-day run on Thursday in Hall A of the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX), visitors will be able to see everything there is to know about the latest trends in craftware and design goods made in Korea. Organized by the Korea Crafts and Design Foundation (KCDF), an affiliate of the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism, this annual fair marks 11th year this year.

According to the KCDF, they’ve set year’s theme as “Heritage to Originality,” in effort to shed light on the past, present and the future of crafts and design and how it has transformed according to the needs and value of the time.

The fair, which is presented in the vast 10,000-square-meter (107,639 square foot) hall, is divided in two zones: the Premium Zone and the Business Zone.

In the Premium Zone, visitors can see displays of crafts and designs to learn the value of craftworks in our daily lives. Here, visitors can take a look at the work of 25 artisans as well as works by 62 newbies.

For the first time, KCDF has set up the “Maestro” section to display craftworks by Korea’s established artisans, who have not been featured at the fair in the past.

“It will not only act as a positive influence for young artisans who are participating but also enrich the experiences of the visitors by being able to take a close look at the country’s finest handmade products,” said Cho Hye-young, artistic director of this year’s fair.

Stressing that one of the important goals for the fair is to help young artisans become commercially sustainable, KCDF said various programs are organized in the Business Zone to learn about business opportunities. For more information, visit craftfair.kcdf.kr.

Next door in COEX’s Hall B, the Seoul Design Festival is also underway. Its five day run began on Wednesday under the theme “Play.”

For this year’s festival, organizers are focused on showing a vast range of design goods that will appeal to single people and so-called kidults - a portmanteau referring to adults with interests traditionally seen as suitable for children.

The Design Festival also stresses the importance of discovering and incubating young designers and the local design industry. To do so, the festival holds talks and presentations by selected designers on their works, while offering a platform for designers and businesses to network. More information is available at seoul.designfestival.co.kr.

There’s also a small fair where Korean visitors can take a close look at the Finnish lifestyle and design goods and learn how the philosophy of timeless quality and closeness with nature exists in all the products.

Organized by the Finpro, the two-day fair kicked off on Thursday at Cafe Boundary in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. According to the organizers, the golden design era began in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and these timeless designs are still actively produced and loved by Finns. But recently, the trend is to collaborate with the new generation of young designers and “create new classics,” according to the organizers.

The organizers ask Korean visitors to come and get something “genuinely unique in your home” after going through a dozen of Finnish living and design brands exhibiting their products.

The fair only ran for two days and ends today. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (02) 725-2076.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]
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