Handcrafted designs to inspire holiday creativity : Get in the the spirit with paper, furniture and crafts

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Handcrafted designs to inspire holiday creativity : Get in the the spirit with paper, furniture and crafts


At the Daelim Museum in central Seoul, the “Paper, Present” exhibition explores the beauty and versatility of paper. Above, the “Paper Walk” by Maum Studio, which is on the fourth floor of the museum. [DAELIM MUSEUM]

As the year nears its end, and holidays and celebrations fill up the calendar, now is the best time to scope out some gifts or decorations for your home to get ready to revel in the season. If you’re looking for unique furniture or beautiful craftworks to give as gifts to your loved ones, here are a few places you can check out over the weekend.

Paper, Present

Many artists draw or paint on paper, but visitors to the Daelim Museum in central Seoul this winter will be able to see artworks created with paper. The “Paper, Present” exhibition which runs through May 27, features works by 10 different teams from in and outside of Korea that have come together to show the beauty of paper.

The diverse pool of artists have a wide range of experiences which vary from furniture design, lighting design, and interior design to sculpture and architecture, adding a rich taste to the works on display. Across the exhibition are designs that take on completely different tones, depending on the aspect of paper the artists focused on.

The paper art begins on the second floor of the museum building, where the first three sections are displayed. “Untitled” by Richard Sweeney, also known as the “Gaudi of paper,” is a gigantic installation that resembles a long piece of human DNA, a paper screen with geometric patterns carved into it is titled “The New Beginning” by Tahiti Pehrson and a garden of mobile-like trees named “Honmonoshi Garden” by design trio atelier oi allows visitors to see how such a common material can be transformed into such powerful elegance through the designers’ touches.

The third floor houses three parts: a home-like space decorated with paper-based props, an alley of paper-made figures, such as lights and blinds and a forest of wisteria flowers that hang from the ceiling in the work named “From Color to Eternity” by renowned design team Wanda Barcelona.

On the fourth floor is the “Paper Walk” by Korean design team, Maum Studio. A field of pink paper reeds that visitors can walk through warmly welcome them with subtle music and lights.

Daelim Museum is a five-minute walk from Gyeongbokgung Station, line No. 3, exit 3. Admissions are 6,000 won ($5.48) for adults and 3,000 won for children. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m from Tuesday to Sunday, and extends its hours on Thursdays and Saturdays until 8 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. For more information, visit www.daelimmuseum.org.


The “Deco, Decor, Decorum” exhibition features pioneering works of furniture from the 20th century at the Gana Art Center in central Seoul. [GANA ART CENTER]

Deco, Decor, Decorum

Until Sunday, the Gana Art Center in central Seoul, is holding the “Deco, Decor, Decorum” exhibition, which looks back at Art Deco design, the foundations of 20th century furniture, when design started to break free from the realm of art.

After the industrial revolution in the 19th century, the act of design and craft began to take on a different tone from the past, in a setting where the machines were mass producing the same commodities without really considering the beauty of its designs. The Art Deco movement came about to narrow the gap between commodities and art, and sought to infuse artistic genius into the design we come across in our everyday lives.

Within the gallery are some 60 pieces, including furniture and paintings, by some of the most renowned pioneers of furniture design such as Le Corbusier, Jean Dunand, Jean M. Frank, Diego Giacometti, Alberto Giacometti and Greta Magnusson Grossman.

They may not seem adventurous to contemporary eyes, but bridging the gap between a commercial product and an element of beauty was itself a pioneering act a century ago. The exhibit offers a retrospective look at the seeds of modern art furniture.

Paintings from famous Korean artists are also on display, including work from Lee U-Fan, Oh Su-Fan and Park Yung-Nam.

To go to Gana Art Center, get off at Gyeongbokgung Station, line No. 3, exit 3 and take bus No. 1711 or 1020 then get off at the Lotte Apartment stop. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., admission is free. For more information, visit www.ganaart.com.


The 2017 Craft Trend Fair held by the Korea Craft and Design Foundation features works of Korean master craftsmen at COEX in southern Seoul. [KCDF]

Smart X Craft

Since the advent of smartphones, the word smart has typically been associated with digital gadgets, namely those that perform functions that improve their original function, such as speakers that recommend songs or wristwatches that tell the weather.

At the 2017 Craft Trend Fair organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and hosted by the Korea Craft and Design Foundation, the word smart takes on a different tone, one that looks back in time when the things around us were smart just by performing its intended goal with beauty. The fair ends on Sunday.

At Hall A of COEX in southern Seoul, the fair gives Korean craftsmen a chance to flaunt their handiwork to the public, and for visitors to get their hands on the finest works they can find. The fair, now in its 12th year, will have 635 booths selling handiworks, as well as exhibition space to allow visitors a chance to watch nine master craftsmen at work.

COEX is connected to Samseong Station, line No. 2. Admission to the fair is 8,000 won. The fair is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.craftfair.kcdf.kr.



Young Design Week

We’re all very aware of Swedish brand IKEA’s affordable, yet high quality furniture, but not many are aware of how their designs and company philosophy works to make a real difference in people’s lives.

At the “Sweden Korea Young Design Week” being held until Dec. 17 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, central Seoul, visitors can learn more about the brand’s design philosophy and the cooperation between IKEA and young designers in both Korea and Sweden.

A collaboration between the design organization Svensk Form, the Embassy of Sweden and IKEA, the exhibition seeks to offer the chance for the two countries to come closer together through design. “This exhibition connects different aspects of new innovative designs from Sweden and South Korea,” said Ambassador Anne Hoglund. “We hope that this event, which in itself is based on co-creation of government, business and academia, will inspire to strengthen future ties between the two countries.”

Apart from the works of young designers under 35, including students at Seoul National University, Hongik University and Kookmin University, there are other attractions at the exhibition for the guests. At the IKEA Food Lab, visitors can see how the company has come up with sustainable food technology and actually take home a bag of vacuum-pickled vegetables.

Admission is free. Dongdaemun Design Plaza is outside exit 1 of Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, lines No. 2, 4, and 5. For more information, visit ikea.today/swedenkoreadesign.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]
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