Home decor and more on offer at Seoul Living Design Fair
To make time at home more entertaining and satisfying, this year’s edition of Seoul Living Design Fair offers a variety of furniture and décor items until Sunday at Coex in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul’s Gangnam District. As one of the largest of its kind in Korea, the fair was especially welcomed by many this year, after it was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
Many of the booths at the fair are focused on bringing the outdoors inside. One of the must-see booths is being run by Younhyun, a company that imports architectural materials from overseas. It collaborated with many different ceramic makers, space designers, and stylists to offer suggestions and inspirations on how to decorate at home. The entrance to the booth is adorned with a flower garden on both sides, with many different pots with greens placed alongside glasses. Inside are plates and many other lifestyle items, showing how to incorporate nature into your home décor for ultimate relaxation indoors.
Protecting the environment is also a common theme that can be seen throughout the fair. Factorial Holdings, a start-up focused on recycling and upcycling has unveiled its reusable mask frame called 2Lon. It doesn’t have strings that go around your ears or a wire across your nose. Considering most single-use masks are not recycled because they are made of numerous different materials, the hairband-like mask frame means that by simply changing the filter it can be reused again and again and cut down on waste. The mask will hit the market next month. Other cleaning detergents and sprays including those from Thai brand Pipper, which are made of fermented pineapples, have booths to show how to keep your home clean and organized whilst protecting the environment. These companies also offer a recycling pick-up service for used masks and containers.
Even Seoul Auction opened a booth for the fair for the first time, making a variety of artwork easily accessible to consumers looking to find something for their empty walls, alongside other galleries. Some of the displayed works are available for immediate purchase, but the majority are those that are listed for two upcoming auctions on June 2 and 3.
“We are displaying pieces by both veterans and young Korean artists, including some craftworks, in order to show not only the overview of the current trends in modern art but also pieces that can be used as home appliances,” said an official from Seoul Auction.
The opening of the fair came at the same time as big retailers are seeing a surge in sales related home furnishings and décor .
Lotte Department Store has been aggressive in introducing new designer brands from overseas recently. In the three months until April, sales of premium home living brands jumped by a whopping 70 percent compared to the previous year.
“Premium items that are relatively affordable and help change the overall ambience are particularly popular,” said Moon Ho-ik, a communication team official with Lotte Department Store. “Customers are showing more interest in small items like picture frames as well as more traditional large-sized furniture.”
The Conran Shop, a British store which has been selling premium home items in Korea since 2019 after Lotte introduced the brand here, has also seen a surge in sales with a 104 percent increase in the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year.
According to Shinsegae Department Store, the sales of home furniture grew by 44.6 percent from January to April this year compared to the same period last year. Sales of kitchen appliances grew 21.1 percent in the same period. It continuously hosts pop-up events at its branches and currently an event with lifestyle brand HAY is underway at its Gangnam branch.
“Many newly-weds who are unable to travel overseas for their honeymoons instead choose to splurge a bit more on decorating their homes,” said an official of Shinsegae Department Store’s communications team.
The growing interest in home décor is also evident from the increase in sales of related books. Yes24, one of the largest bookstores in Korea, saw sales of books under the categories of interior design and organization jump by 40.6 percent last year compared to the year before. Such jump caught the eye of industry experts as sales of such books had been falling since 2017. From 2016 to 2017 sales dropped by 10.2 percent, from 2017 to 2018 by 2.2 percent, and from 2018 to 2019 by 32.5 percent.
“In the books, people can find many insights from an author who has studied and researched the particular industry for a long time,” said Kim Hyeon-ju, a merchandising director for books related to home interior and design.
“Of course it is possible to easily find information on ‘do it yourself’ interiors and how to organize your home online on social media channels like YouTube, but those who want to get more refined information and learn different philosophies studied by experts purchase these books.”
In line with these trends, authors are publishing more books on such topics. From January to April, Yes24 had 17 new books on interior and storage skills on offer.
BY LEE SUN-MIN [email@example.com]
For more information about Seoul Living Design Fair, go to www.livingdesignfair.co.kr or call (02) 2262-7152.