Report #2 Seoul: The Holland Pavilion
In the context of exploring new possibilities for the international presentation of Dutch design, 10 designers participated in this year’s Seoul Design Festival with the backing of the Creative Industries Fund NL. These designers presented their projects in the Holland Pavilion. Bruno Vermeersch (Jacques & André) designed the pavilion as a plaza, a meeting place with lampposts and benches that would allow the public to mingle and talk about the exhibited projects and the theme.
On Saturday, 29 November a group of senior citizens from the Gangnam Senior Plaza visited the pavilion. This was a highlight for the designers, as this is the target group for their projects. The senior citizens were enthusiastic. Also the project by Michou Nanon de Bruijn caught the attraction of the seniors. The group already talked about the costs of a ticket for the BrainTrain and if the train could drive in South Korea. Julia van Zanten discussed her Protective Underwear project with an elderly Korean woman, who emotionally indicated that she believed such projects would truly allow her to grow old more happily.
Interaction in projects for senior citizens
Jules van den Langenberg seized the chance to play bingo with visiting senior citizens, using his specially designed bingo set. The lamps by Studio Toer, which react to movement and sound, were a hit with the Korean public. ‘With our designs we want to ensure that objects which are usually static can display autonomous behaviour. We therefore focus on interaction and the creation of a dynamic atmosphere. Many of our projects come about because we explore things in a playful manner,’ Studio Toer’s Castor Bours and Wouter Widdershoven explain. ‘Our lamps bring vitality into the home, showing that furniture can provide company, for single elderly people, for example.’
By and large the festival was more of a consumer fair where businesses marketed their newest gadgets. This setting nevertheless presented opportunities for the designers to stand out. Many visitors passed by because the pavilion conveyed the festival’s theme so clearly. The Dutch approach also attracted media attention, with various designers giving interviews for magazines and TV, and there were plenty of requests for press packs.
The Holland Pavilion was made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL, the Dutch Embassy in South Korea, the Design House and the East West Education Center.