Creative, eye-catching goods available at Seoul Design Market

Creative, eye-catching goods available at Seoul Design Market

A silicon lamp resembling traditional Korean pottery, a ceramic pot designed to naturally amplify the sound of a smartphone inserted next to the plant and “bandoms” — rubber bands shaped and packaged like, you guessed it, condoms.

These are some of the creative items and crafts produced by young, independent designers on display at the second annual Seoul Design Market, which is being held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul until Sunday.

Launched as part of the second annual Seoul Design Week, South Korea’s largest public design festival and hosted by the city-run Seoul Design Foundation, the market showcases a diverse range of goods made by the country’s up-and-coming young designers.

Walking around the row of 50 booths, visitors can browse through unique one-of-a-kind items ranging from home appliances, stationery and fashion accessories that reflect the innovation of local designers.

Some of the market vendors are full-time university students, while others are small start-ups that have recently launched their own businesses or are preparing to commercialize their products to the broader public.

Kitchenware and stationery items made by Verb Design (Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald)
Kitchenware and stationery items made by Verb Design (Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald)

Verb Design, a start-up launched by full-time students studying industrial design at Kyung Hee University, features a catchy lineup of kitchenware and stationery items, including ceramic plates shaped like sliced baguettes and a small device that transforms a smartphone’s built-in flashlight into a mood lamp, as well as the aforementioned ceramic pot and “bandoms.”

“Our design philosophy is to create witty and useful products that can make people happy,” Verb Design CEO Goh Hye-jin told The Korea Herald. “Each product represents the thoughts of different designers in our team.”

Bringing back memories of Korea in the ’80s and ’90s, Happy City, the winner of Seoul City’s souvenir contest, is selling its flagship “Dalgona” kit for the first time at the market.

Dalgona, also known as Bbopgi in Korean, is a popular street snack made by melting sugar with baking powder and pressing a picture into the melted dough. Children typically try to eat the snack around the outline of the image.

Kitchenware and stationery items made by Bub Design (Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald)

“The Dalgona kit (which comes with cookie cutters shaped to represent Seoul’s landmarks, including Gwanghwamun) embodies Korean traditional culture as well as promotes famous landmarks in Seoul,” said Happy City CEO Ko Eun-jung.

Meanwhile, Haeyaji, a small design company established last year, has launched a new silicon touch lamp resembling a dal hangari, a moon-shaped porcelain jar dating back to the late Joseon era.

The Dal hangari lamp made by Haeyaji (Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald)

The brand — which finds its design motifs from traditional Korean culture — already sells a similar lamp made to represent Joseon baekja, or white porcelain, at art museums and galleries in Seoul and Kyobo Hottracks, among others.

Eco-friendly, handmade pouches and stationery, coasters and cups printed with pictures drawn through smartphones as well as accessories made with upcycled materials are also some worthwhile items to check out at the Seoul Design Market this week.

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