15 jul '14
In 2008 the country announced its ambition to become the design hub of South-East Asia. Since then, the country has unfolded major cultural and economic infrastructure, with Seoul as its epicentre. Creative entrepreneurs are sprouting like mushrooms, encouraged by recent government policy that earmarks the creative economy as one of the country’s economic priority areas. Korean businesses such as LG and Samsung are setting the pace when it comes to crossovers between technological innovation and design. All this has not gone unnoticed in the Netherlands. More and more designers are establishing a foothold in Korea and are collaborating with Korean companies, designers and universities.
The problems facing Korean society present opportunities for Dutch-Korean collaboration, and Ineke Hans mentions three relevant issues: waste and raw materials, the ageing population, and rapid urbanization.
Dutch designers Samira Boon and Anne Miltenburg, both of whom lived and worked in Korea, emphasize how much we can learn from Koreans. Five tips from two hands-on experts for designers starting out in South Korea.
1. Seek partnerships with local parties such as design universities, craft organizations and the business community. For newcomers, the Korean market appears hermetically sealed. Collaborating with Korean parties helps you to build up a network, to become familiar with Korean customs, and to gain access to the market.
2. Always dine out with Korean colleagues and eat everything they put in front of you. That is how you invest in working relationships and how you show that your intentions are serious.
3. Invest in building up a bond with your immediate colleagues. Koreans attach great importance to informal working relations.
4. Be aware of the hierarchical corporate culture in South Korea. Participation, discussion and group decisions are overshadowed by status and a fast decision-making culture.
5. Allow yourself to be swept along by the 24-hour work culture. Don’t be surprised if your colleagues work though the night while you plan to leave the office at 6 p.m. Clients can call at 8 p.m. to tell you they have a commission that has to be finished the following afternoon.
Open Call for Participation in Seoul Design Festival
The Creative Industries Fund NL calls on designers to submit proposals to participate in the Holland Pavilion during Seoul Design Festival, which takes place from 26 to 30 November 2014. Highlighting the issue of ageing, the festival theme is Well-Aged Life, Well-Balanced Design. This call is open to product designers, industrial designers and fashion designers whose submitted work reflects the theme and is of an excellent standard. The Fund will support the participation of 10 designers at the Holland Paviljoen and an eight day stay in Seoul during the festival. Proposals must be submitted by 31 August at the latest.
Read more about the open call at: >> Open Call for Participation in Seoul Design Festival