Gwangju Design Biennale wants visitors to ‘Meet Design’
The Gwangju Design Biennale, Korea’s biggest design event, is back offline this year with the suiting theme of “Meet Design,” after the last event was hybrid in 2021 due to the pandemic.
The 10th edition is set to take place from Sept. 7 to Nov. 7 at venues including the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, the Gwangju Institute of Design Promotion said in a press conference on Thursday. Ken Nah, a design professor at Hongik University, took the helm of the two-month event as its director.
“Meet Design” aims to introduce the concept of design to the general public so that they can get better understand its “value.”
Nah was previously a judge for the Red Dot Design Award and has an extensive portfolio having participated in design projects including with Hyundai Motor, Samsung and LG.
“For the past 20 years, it’s been difficult for the public to fully distinguish the Gwangju Biennale [which centers on modern and contemporary art] and the Gwangju Design Biennale,” Nah said. “And it’s always been a challenge to try to bring them closer to the concept of design.”
The Gwangju Biennale has a longer history going back to 1995, while the design biennale started 10 years later. Nah also said that fine art tends to be “easier to comprehend” rather than design, as the latter’s boundaries tend to be ambiguous.
“The thing about design is that the focus is on the consumers,” he continued. “It’s not the designer’s aesthetic intention that matters; it’s about trying to solve everyday problems that anyone can have. There are two focal points to it: evolution, in that design continues to upgrade as time goes by, and diversity, as many different designers or businesses provide customers with different solutions that they can choose from.”
The 2023 Gwangju Design Biennale is divided into four sections — “Technology Meets Design,” “Lifestyle Meets Design,” “Culture Meets Design” and “Business Meets Design.”
This year, the event includes award-winning pieces from the Red Dot Design Award, which take up around 20 percent of the entire exhibit and are arranged according to each of the four sections.
Director Nah stressed that he and the curators contemplated on how to prevent the biennale to appear like a business expo and be more informative in presenting the value of how design is defined in our daily lives.
For example, in the “Lifestyle Meets Design” section, one of the core aspects is sustainability. The biennale will introduce local vegan and upcycling brands as well as the Red Dot Design Award’s lightweight chairs for visitors to “get a grasp” on environmentally-friendly lifestyles.
Tickets are sold in advance until the first day of the biennale at a discounted price on Naver and Ticketlink. Adult tickets are 12,000 won ($9.20). The biennale runs every day. There are also tickets that allow joint access to both the Gwangju Biennale in April and the Gwangju Design Biennale on offer.
BY SHIN MIN-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]