|Visitors look at industrial products during Seoul Design Week 2015 at Coex, Seoul, on Wednesday. — Photo Yonhap
SEOUL — The country's largest public design festival kicked off Wednesday in Seoul with a variety of events to highlight innovative ideas and boost the design industry.
Under the slogan "Seoul's Design Wizard," Seoul Design Week 2015 launched 16 diverse programs ranging from design markets, fairs and seminars to a networking party for designers and public. Some 230 local companies are expected to participate in the five-day festival.
The second annual design event, run by Seoul Metropolitan Government's affiliate organization, the Seoul Design Foundation, will run until Sunday at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Coex and other venues including 200 galleries and showrooms across central Seoul.
"Based on the design competitiveness that Dongdaemun Design Plaza has accumulated, (Seoul Design Foundation) will expand its international network to make Seoul Design Week one of Asia's top three festivals, along with Beijing Design Week and Tokyo Design Week," said SDF president Lee Geun at a press conference at DDP.
In February, the foundation formed a trilateral consultative body with China and Japan as part of its efforts to enhance the design network and promote Korea's design potential.
On the first day, seven leading designers and young entrepreneurs presented their innovative designs and start-ups at DDP.
The panel included stylist Kim Woo-ri, makeup artist Seo Su-jin and entrepreneurs Shin Ki-yong of battery recycling venture company Enlighten and Hwang Ki-seok of design consulting firm Light Brain.
At the same venue, the Design Mate program opened to showcase cutting-edge and innovative design items from 21 designers and entrepreneurs selected by the city.
The Universal Design Fair displays products that are inherently accessible to anyone regardless of age, disability or gender, organizers said. Divided into 11 booths ranging from hospital to office zones, products showcased at the fair include desks with adjustable heights and vehicles equipped with automatic ramps for wheelchair users.
Seoul Design Week also runs a Crafts Fair that features creative items that are inspired by traditional Korean crafts. Focusing only on wood and metal products, the fair displays items a way that offers a glimpse of Korean craft history, officials said.
At Seoul Design Market, start-ups are given opportunities to promote and sell their creations, ranging from fashion items, household goods to jewelry.
On Friday, the Designers Party will be held at DDP for the public to meet the featured designers. The open party will feature renowned DJs and celebrities. Under the theme of a masked ball, partygoers are required to dress in black. Masks will be provided, officials said.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (email@example.com)