“Together with Gwangju Design Biennale, you can enjoy the value and pleasure of design, while also savoring the unique style and flavor of Gwangju”…

LOS ANGELES, CA, August 28, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — “As the Gwangju Design Biennale celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, our goal is to differentiate it from the Art Biennale and firmly establish its distinct identity as a Design Biennale, while also working to burnish its popularity and international recognition.”

The opening of the Gwangju Design Biennale, the world’s first and Asia’s only design biennale, is just two weeks away. This year’s Gwangju Design Biennale is themed “Meet Design” and will run from September 7 to November 7, 2023, at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Center and throughout various locations in the city of Gwangju.

One of the features of this year’s Design Biennale is that world-class designers will be working on “global design projects” with Gwangju-based enterprises. The initiative is to establish an international cooperation system to maximize industrialization and economic value.

In addition, the Gwangju Institute of Design Promotion (GIDP) has appointed national creator “Pengsoo” as an honorary ambassador for the 10th Gwangju Design Biennale and plans to introduce ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) concepts into the exhibition in response to the global climate crisis and realize sustainable social values.

Through new challenges and innovations, the organizers plan to enhance the identity and meaning of the event, while communicating its core themes more effectively. We interviewed Nah Ken, Chief Director of Gwangju Design Biennale 2023 (Professor of Design Management, The International Design School for Advanced Studies, Hongik University), about the meaning, identity and highlights of this year’s Gwangju Design Biennale.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: What is the current progress of the preparations for 10th Gwangju Design Biennale?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: The Gwangju Design Biennale is busy with final preparations for the exhibition’s grand opening. The Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Center, where the main exhibition will be held, is in the midst of full-scale exhibition construction, and the importation and installation of artworks are well underway. The exhibition preparations will be completed by September 4, followed by a media day on September 5 and an opening ceremony on September 6 at 6 p.m. where attendance is expected to exceed 500 domestic and international guests and citizens. The exhibition will open its doors to the public on September 7.

This year’s Design Biennale will be the first 100% face-to-face event since the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are preparing to make it an even more enjoyable experience for the attending public by including an opening ceremony with citizens and various exhibition experience programs.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: Please provide us with insights about the Biennale’s theme and exhibition space.

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: The central theme of this year’s Design Biennale is “Meet Design.” It refers to the “meeting” that was interrupted by COVID-19, and also reflects the intrinsic value of design that emphasizes “convergence.” The exhibition will showcase how technology and design converge to create innovative products and achieve success, and how design converges with culture, lifestyle and business to change lives.

The main exhibition is divided into four thematic pavilions, Technology, Lifestyle, Culture and Business, each of which shows how design is closely connected to human life. In addition to the main exhibition at the Gwangju Biennale, special exhibitions will be held at the Gwangju Museum of Art, GIDP, Dong-gu Miro Center, Chang Hwang Nam Information & Communication Museum of Chosun University, Seonam-dong Printing Business Center, and Yanglim-dong, transforming the entire city into a Design Biennale venue.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: I heard that there will be no regional pavilions at this year’s Design Biennale. What does this mean?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: In the past, the main exhibition of the Gwangju Design Biennale was organized separately, and we received feedback from visitors that the regional pavilions felt somewhat detached from the broader thematic pavilions. Therefore, for this year’s Design Biennale, we wanted to integrate “region” into the exhibition itself. We organized the exhibition to showcase various designs and products from Gwangju by merging them with both local and global design influences.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: I heard that the winners of the Red Dot Design Award can be displayed. How much prestige does the Red Dot Award have? Also, is there a possibility of cooperation between these world-class artworks and the industry in Gwangju?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: When we think of “design awards,” Red Dot is probably the first brand that comes to mind. Founded in Germany in 1955, the Red Dot Design Award is one of the top three design awards in the world, along with the iF Design Award (Germany) and IDEA (USA). These design awards are based on originality, creativity and distinction, and the winners are selected annually.

There are many products in our daily lives that have won the Red Dot Award. Recently, companies such as Hyundai Motor Group and Amorepacific have received awards. At this year’s Gwangju Design Biennale, Red Dot and iF winners will be introduced in each of the four thematic exhibitions.

This year’s Gwangju Design Biennale is hosting the “2023 Global Design Project” to create industrialization and economic value by bringing together world-class designers and local companies. Products from collaborations between world-class designers and local companies will be presented, such as the collaboration between Stefano Giovannoni and DK Industries, a representative medium-sized company in the region. This initiative provides Gwangju-based companies and designers an exceptional opportunity to meet with world-class designers to further globalize their ideas and designs.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: Every time the Gwangju Design Biennale is held, the public responds with enthusiasm. Why?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: As “design” itself is closely related to our lives, visitors seem to be fascinated and inspired by design and enjoy the exhibition. In the 9th Design Biennale in 2021, the total number of visitors was 423,598, a notable increase of 31% from the previous event. With each consecutive event, a growing number of visitors come to the pavilion.

In the past, visitors to the Gwangju Design Biennale have included a wide range of ages and professions. In order to increase the empathy and satisfaction of these visitors, this year’s event is being prepared as a “five-sense satisfaction” event where visitors can see, enjoy, and experience design on multiple sensory levels.

In addition to the Cacao Experience Zone in the Design Biennale Exhibition Hall, a series of programs await, including the Design Biennale on the Metaverse, I am a Little Curator, design education programs for children, design workshops with designers, and art festivals with citizens, as well as diverse design products and goods.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: How are new technologies and design related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: It has always been argued that “design” differs from art in that it solves customer problems from the customer’s perspective rather than the artist’s viewpoint, but with the development of new technologies, design is solving more diverse customer problems. In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is characterized by artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and AR and VR, design plays an important role as a communication tool.

An exhibition that considers design in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the “Technology” exhibition in the main Exhibition Hall 1 of the Design Biennale. It will showcase consumer-tailored home IoT appliances, human-robot collaborative work systems, robotic arms, and “exosuits,” which are wearable robots.

However, there is one important value that remains unchanged in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: This is creativity. In the Exhibition Hall 4, you can see the stories of design innovators who are pushing the boundaries of existing industries to create new value for their customers with new perspectives and approaches.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: Do you have a specific goal in mind for the Gwangju Design Biennale?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: Gwangju, which was once a city without any design identity, has created the world’s first Design Biennale and is becoming a representative brand of Gwangju. I hope that the Gwangju Design Biennale will be an opportunity to spotlight Gwangju on the global stage, attract a multitude of international visitors and tourists, and contribute to the prosperous advancement of Gwangju.

The identity of the Gwangju Design Biennale can be described as the value of design, talking about issues through design, and showing a vision of the future. Over the years, the Gwangju Design Biennale has established itself as a representative design event in Korea and Asia. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, it aims to distinguish itself from the Art Biennale and solidify the distinct identity of the Design Biennale, and concurrently promote its prominence and global recognition.

Q. Yoo Hyeong Dong, Chief of Honam Coverage Office: Finally, what would you like to say to the audience that has been waiting for two years?

A. Chief Director, Nah Ken: Good design makes everyone happy. Design is valuable as a tool for a better life and a better world. We hope you will find the value and enjoyment of design at the Gwangju Design Biennale and that you will enjoy the unique style and flavors of Gwangju on full display at the Design Biennale. We look forward to your keen interest and passionate support.

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