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Gwangju Transforms Into A World Design Festival

by Larry Watson

Gwangju City and the Institute of Design Promotion invite the world to meet the 10th Gwangju Design Biennale starting September 7th.

The Gwangju Design Biennale welcomes you to meet its 10th GDB 2023 in the historic southern city of Gwangju beginning Sept. 7th to Nov. 7th. This year’s theme is <Meet Design> and promises to amaze, enlighten, and entertain. Thousands of innovative design exhibits will be displayed at major exhibition venues in Gwangju, including the main Gwangju Biennale exhibition halls, the Gwangju City Art Museum, and other local areas.

Celebrating two decades since its launch in 2003, the 2023 Gwangju Design Biennale is being led by General Director, Ken Nah (professor, Hongik IDAS University, Red Dot jury member) who aims to highlight the impact of design on the world by highlighting as main exhibitions, special exhibitions, international conferences, etc, the multifaceted aspects and ubiquity of design.

The main programs consist of the Main Exhibition, Special Exhibition, International Conference, Design Talks, Design interactive events, Export consultations with invited overseas buyers.

Main Exhibitions

The four sub-themes of the main exhibition are as follows : Design meets Technology, Lifestyle, Culture and Business.

The Technology hall will exhibit future designs where cutting-edge technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), robots, and smart tech meet design to realize the future of our dreams. Prominent designers and major companies including LG, Renault Korea, KG Mobility, and Neuromeka will be participating.

The Lifestyle hall will showcase designs in things we can see and enjoy in daily life.

The Culture hall will introduce aspects of K-Culture and K-Design drawn from the areas of culture and design.

The Business hall will showcase innovative designs of global companies such as Samsung Electronics and Dyson, which have achieved success through design management.

Special Exhibitions

Various special exhibitions are also being organized. The Gwangju Museum of Art will present various types of works achieved through collaboration between artists and designers based on materials collected from forests in Jongoe Park and other places.

In the past, an international poster design invitational exhibition was held at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition hall involving 350 designers from 30 countries around the world. The Gwangju Institute of Design Promotion participated in the event which had the theme of “Design Nexus” (or Design Connection) with 200 designers and college students from Gwangju and Jeollanam-do to highlight present and future designs of the Honam region.

International Conference

International conference will be at the Biennale Hall 3 for three days beginning from September 7th. In attendance will be Red Dot CEO(Peter Zec), Chairperson of National Architecture Policy Committee (Young-gul Kwon), Professor of Tokai University in Japan (Nakajima Juri), Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S. (Eun-sook Kwon), Professor of Seoul National University (Nando Kim) among others. The forum in which they will participate will involve discourse on the themes of design value, trend, and future.

Pop-Up Exhibition

The GDB2023 is preparing activities in which visitors can see, enjoy, and experience various designs. From July 19th to September 3rd, the 10th Gwangju Design Biennale pop-up exhibition is available to visit at the Cultural Plaza on the first floor of the Shinsegae Department Store in Gwangju. Theme of the pop-up exhibit include “Meet & Eat” designed by MOTOElastico (Simone Carena, Marco Bruno, Minji Kim, Giulia Nespoli). The work is inspired by the concept of Korean street food – “odeng”, “tokkotchi” and “kimbob” transformed into fashion icons. Each piece is entirely made out of paper (that is recyclable) which set an example of sustainable environment in the event scene.

The Gwangju Institute of Design Promotion welcomes anyone and everyone to come and cool off this summer at the GDB 2023 to celebrate the value and role of design for a ‘better’ life and a ‘better world.

Find out more information regarding the 2023 Gwangju Design Biennale here.