Home decor and more on offer at Seoul Living Design Fair

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Home decor and more on offer at Seoul Living Design Fair

A visitor to Seoul Living Design Fair takes a look at small home décor items. The fair at Coex, southern Seoul's Gangnam District, lasts until Sunday. [YONHAP]

A visitor to Seoul Living Design Fair takes a look at small home décor items. The fair at Coex, southern Seoul's Gangnam District, lasts until Sunday. [YONHAP]

What fork you use when you eat pasta at home and what objects you see first on your table as soon as you get up have become more important to many who spend much more time at home eating and lounging due to the elongated pandemic.  
 
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.
 
A sample garden has been put together in the booth set up by Younhyun, a company which imports architectural materials from overseas. The company made a multiple-section booth in collaboration with many other local designers to showcase indoor space that provides relaxation. [LEE SUN-MIN]

A sample garden has been put together in the booth set up by Younhyun, a company which imports architectural materials from overseas. The company made a multiple-section booth in collaboration with many other local designers to showcase indoor space that provides relaxation. [LEE SUN-MIN]

My alle, a gardening lifestyle shop, collaborated with lifestyle magazine Homeliving & Style, to show different color themes to decorate a garden of any size. It also has many different framed prints of colorful flowers and insects for those who want to vicariously experience nature without having an actual garden.   
 
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.  
 
Many booths offer a variety of furniture in different colors to cater to different tastes of visitors looking to decorate their homes and offices. [YONHAP]

Many booths offer a variety of furniture in different colors to cater to different tastes of visitors looking to decorate their homes and offices. [YONHAP]

Given that many now enjoy listening to more grandiose music at home instead of going to a large concert hall, audio companies are showing off what they have to offer. Standard items found at home fairs, like home furnishings including sofas, bedding and tables, are also available. For those who want to create a new ambience with limited budget, textiles companies suggest changing your wallpaper at home. Space Tailor offers peel-and-stick wall paper that is easily removable for those who are renting and don't have permission to permanently change their surroundings.  
 
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. 
 
The Conran Shop at Lotte Department Store's Gangnam branch offers a variety of lifestyle items to decorate homes and offices. [THE CONRAN SHOP]

The Conran Shop at Lotte Department Store's Gangnam branch offers a variety of lifestyle items to decorate homes and offices. [THE CONRAN SHOP]

In line with demand, the department store launched a new shop called “Tops Maison” this month. The shop has a variety of small décor items like rugs and cushions from 60 brands from 15 countries in Europe. It opened its first store in Incheon, and plans to open more soon. Lotte's main branch in Myeongdong, in central Seoul’s Jung District, opened Maison Archive in April, targeting women in their 30s and 40s, with items from brands that are hard to find at other large retailers. 
 
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   [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]  
 
For more information about Seoul Living Design Fair, go to www.livingdesignfair.co.kr or call (02) 2262-7152. 
 
 
 
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