2021 DDP Design Fair continues to nourish local designers

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2021 DDP Design Fair continues to nourish local designers

The third edition of the 2021 DDP Design Fair opened on Oct. 19 and runs for a week at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It is also available to view online. [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

The third edition of the 2021 DDP Design Fair opened on Oct. 19 and runs for a week at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It is also available to view online. [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

 
The 2021 DDP Design Fair offers a ray of hope to designers and small and medium-sized enterprises in the Covid-19 era by giving them a chance to brighten up homes.
 
The 2021 DDP Design Fair, at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Art Hall 1 in central Seoul, opened on Oct. 19 and runs through Oct. 25. The fair is also being held online.
 
The third edition of the fair, organized by the Seoul Design Foundation and hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, is being held under the theme “Wonderful Life.” Every year, it aims to support and boost the local design industry.
 
One-hundred-six teams of designers and small local manufacturing businesses collaborated to create trial products of items for the home. Ranging from chairs and tables to bookcases and candles, these living items were carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing.
 
Apart from these collaborations, 64 small design studios are introducing their newly-released products, and nine well-known brands like water purifier company Coway and local paint company Samhwa Paints have booths at the fair.
 
One-hundred-six teams of designers and small local manufacturing businesses collaborated on making trial products of living items that are also aesthetically pleasing. [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

One-hundred-six teams of designers and small local manufacturing businesses collaborated on making trial products of living items that are also aesthetically pleasing. [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

 
During a press interview on Wednesday at the DDP, the people who helped bring the 2021 DDP Design Fair to life shared their thoughts on the event and why it has significant meaning.
 
According to Rhee Sang-mook, the director of the design business division at the Seoul Design Foundation, the purpose of the design fair can be likened to a growing plant.
 
“Before we started the design fair, small businesses would have the network in the market, but lack talented designers, whereas new rising designers would have creative designs that they would like to show off but would be unable to find their place in the market,” Rhee said. “Let’s say that small businesses are the soil, and the designers are plants. Our job is to encourage and nourish the plants to grow the best they can in the soil.”
 
Three collaborative pieces won the 2021 DDP Best Design Award, given by the Seoul Metropolitan Government — “The Butterfly” (a 3-D printed chair), “Light Now No. 1” (a desk lamp) and “Bincense” (an incense holder).
 
″The Butterfly,″ by Studio Plastic and JH Studio [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

″The Butterfly,″ by Studio Plastic and JH Studio [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

 
“The Butterfly” was designed based on the “dreamlike” movement of a butterfly fluttering its wings, with curves for its back and armrests. Studio Plastic and Jh Studio, a small design studio and a manufacturing company that specializes in 3-D printing technology who collaborated on this piece, told reporters that originally there were problems in creating the complicated, curvy design when using traditional methods. However, they found that 3-D printing technology overcame this issue, in addition to being eco-friendly, as it uses recycled plastic.
 
Industrial design company DSLSM and manufacturing business Likethix, who worked on “Bincense,” contemplated on the values of having a peaceful mind, particularly in the Covid-19 era, to create their work.
 
“We’ve always wanted to portray ‘emptiness and concentration,’” said Kim Joo-kyu of Likethix, whose business philosophy is pursuing a lifestyle of “mindful life,” which can be achieved when the mind is at peace. “After thinking about how we could put this into a product, we got the idea of how incense holders help empty out complex thoughts and let people focus on the important things — especially when they are used in yoga or meditation.”
 
″Bincense,″ by DSLSM and Likethix [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

″Bincense,″ by DSLSM and Likethix [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

 
Director Rhee explained that three main factors were reflected into the products overall: recycling, single households and pets. For instance, on display are chairs made from recycled plastic bottles, lighting that is optimized in size to fit single households and backpacks that can be transformed into pet carriers.
 
With the 2021 DDP Design Fair taking place both offline and online, unlike the previous two years when it was first held offline and then online last year due to the pandemic, Rhee said that he was excited the fair could return to the offline stage, but also stressed the importance of the online platform.
 
“We were disappointed last year when the fair only took place online, because it isn’t as fun compared to the offline exhibition,” Rhee said. “But there were about 300,000 people who logged online, and 120,000 were people from overseas. This means that there are thousands of people who don’t live in Korea that are interested in our fair. We don’t want to lose that 120,000. After the offline fair ends, we’re still going to have the online version available to view. Maybe next year those people will actually come to Korea to visit our offline fair.”
 
″Light Now No. 1,″ by makemake and N/A [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

″Light Now No. 1,″ by makemake and N/A [2021 DDP DESIGN FAIR]

 
Two of the curators this year, Ha Ji-hoon, a professor at Kaywon University of Art and Design, and Jeong Mee, CEO of lighting company EONSLD, expressed their views on “K-design.” 
 
“We don’t want to confine the designs as ‘K-design,’” Professor Ha said. “Korean designs have already gone global, but design itself is equal. Sure, we may have originality due to regional characteristics, but when you see a design you wonder who made it, not what country is it from.”
 
These collaborations are like bibimbap, where you mix seemingly different ingredients together to create one tasty dish, CEO Jeong added. “When you mix together the unexpected, they turn out to be brilliant works of art.”
 
The 2021 DDP Design Fair is free to all and open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The online fair can be viewed at www.ddpdesignfair-ex.or.kr.

BY SHIN MIN-HEE [shin.minhee@joongang.co.kr]
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