Time seemed to be one of the themes of the various Korean designers on show at the 100% Design London exhibition at Earl’s Court. Cha Il-gu graduated from London’s Royal College of Art and at last year’s show was selected as a “Next Generation Design Leader” and a “Most Promising Talent” at 100% Future. He returned this year with his “Trace of Time” wall clock for design company enSalt: part clock, part calendar, part wipeboard, the hour hand erases your appointments as it sweeps around the clock face, reminding you that you only have one chance to do something right, then it’s gone.
Less urgent, more homely, were the Daily Life Clocks designed by Byeon Dongjin.
With these clocks it takes a while to figure out the time, but after a while it falls into place: a small dog running through a landscape is the second hand. He is pursued by a young girl, the minute hand, while the grandmother plods behind as the hour hand. Round the circle of their home town they go every day, and to relieve them of the monotony of their daily lives Byeon has designed a companion clock where they are on holiday in the Maldives.
Both these designers had stands of their own, while back at the official KIDP-sponsored Korea Design Pavilion another exhibitor was playing with time: the Time Saving Clock.
Made especially for people who are not punctual, the Time Saving Clock teaches people the value of time and how to save time. The watch’s needle is attached to the screws, so depending on your intentions will show both the time set earlier by you, and the actual, current time.
A third Korean designer was exhibiting independently from the official pavilion: Lee Chai-young, a recent MA graduate from Central St Martin’s shared a stand with classmate Chinese-born Hwang Siwen.
Lee’s focus is playing with the cooperative relationship between optics and surfaces: mirrors with illuminated designs embedded in them, or mirrored table lamps.
Back at the main Korean pavilion, the stand itself was a work of design: Korean calligraphy on Korean mulberry paper formed the ceiling for the exhibition, under which the various design companies showed their work. Some of the exhibitors had also appeared last year. One of the most eye-catching exhibits was a matrix of LED lights which could be programmed to display different patterns and colours. To relax after the show, Tangerine & Partners, the only European design firm with a branch in Seoul, presented an ergonomic chair designed to stop you from slouching in your seat.
100% Design London was at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, 23-26 September 2010.