As spring arrives once againon the land of Seoul, the annual spring exhibitions blossom around the city. For the past few years, Seoul has witnessed conscious deliberations from both the government and the artists in transforming this metropolitan city into an art hub of Asia and the world to rival Hong Kong and Tokyo. Among those efforts, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is definitely one of the most impressive destinations.
Recently opened in March 2014, this project marked a substantial amount of investment over the last six years from both the government and the merchants in the traditional Dongdaemun market. With aesthetic principles oriented toward a futuristic style, the DDP provides a nice contrast to the old area around it and has definitely become a new landmark of Seoul.
The buildings of the DDP itself are a worthwhile piece of artwork that calls for the mastery of both technology and architecture combined. The outer cover consists entirely of shining metal plates that have been molded perfectly to form surprisingly pliable-looking joint curves, as well as carry holes for decorative and ventilation purposes. The building is supported by an impressive column structure created by fixing together extensive, unpainted blocks of casted cement. The elegant and simplistic design completely transcends the dull grey color of metal and cement into a sense of modernity and grandeur.
Inside the building, on the contrary, is a vividly colorful world. Dedicated to honoring applicable designs for everyday life, the DDP is a hall of fame for the latest and smartest design achievements in various fields such as sport, toy, stationery, furniture, etc. This is not so much a playground for big global names, but a real recognition of the young designers of Korea in proving their capability to the world, as seen through the carefully documented introduction of these youngsters’ profiles next to their exhibited products. Most of the exhibitions are free, and even if you happen to come on a day when they are not all free, simply enjoying a fabulous view of the DDP once the night lights are on is enough of a visual spectacle.
Written by Thuy Pham