Seoul: Past vs. Present

While Seoul grew rapidly from the ashes to become a metropolis, this city lost much of its uniqueness and beauty, in particular, a set of organically linked traditional buildings. Two miniatures at the Seoul Museum of History showed stark contrast.     Seoul became the capital of a sovereign nation in 1945, with Korea’s liberation from Japanese…

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Yido, a successfully modernised traditional Korean pottery

Yido is one of the most widely-known premium pottery brands in Korea. It was found by Yi, Yoonshin, a ceramic artist. As introduced in her website, her work “reinterprets traditional Korean ceramics in refined contemporary design.” However, visiting Yido’s flagship store taught me a few “marketing” lessons how she has successfully established herself in the market. First, she listens to…

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An eye-catching sculpture in Seoul

A gigantic sculpture standing in front of the MBC media center is called Square M-Communication. It looks like two people touching their hands. According to Young Ho Yoo who made this sculpture, the red frame represents media and two human sculptures represent the contemporary people who actively interact with media. This artwork represents the meeting between media…

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Two different ways to design a better fire extinguisher

Since we spend most of our time in buildings, we are literally surrounded by fire extinguishers. It consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire (Wikipedia). In general, we do not pay attention to them until needed. For me, I have never used any fire extinguisher…

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Standing desk: New way to work

I suffered from minor shoulder – and wrist pain for a long time. In order to lessen the pain, I decided to train my left hand for using the computer mouse a few years back. Certainly, using mouse with my left hand was very challenging in the first couple of years. However, 3-year of intensive practice…

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Electronic Vehicle Charging Station in Seoul

An EV charging station stands in the parking lot at my university. Probably, the department of automotive engineering installed it and owns the electronic vehicle. My first impression about them is that they do not interfere the traffic flow inside the busy parking lot because the charging station occupies a tiny space and it charges…

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Sterilizer in beauty stores

Must buy items in Korea are skin care products. As the Korean entertainment programs including TV programs, movies, and music videos became highly popular in Asia, the beauty products made in Korean enjoy its strong brand power. Many cosmetic stores in Seoul are crowded by foreign visitors. I have noticed in the stores that many foreign…

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Paper product by Minimalist designer

People have their own favorite designers. My favorite “product” designer is Naoto Fukasawa. He is well known for the designer of the fan-shaped CD player by Muji. I love his minimalist design so much that I flew for his Tokyo studio, Plus Minus Zero, to consider buying a humidifier for the stimulus of my experimental…

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Rooftop presentation of Seoul history

I attended an interesting event at the Art center Nabi in Seoul. At this event, Robert Fouser, Associate Professor of Korean Language Education at Seoul National University, introduced the history of Seoul with a series of his own black and white photos of Seoul. His Korean-speaking presentation impressed me deeply; his photos remind me of my…

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Container shipping company’s sponsorship for art project

MMCA (national Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) is a representative museum located in the center of Seoul, Korea. In the museum stood an eye-popping art piece. It is “Home within Home within Home within Home within Home” and sponsored by Hanjin Shipping, the 8th biggest shipping company following Maersk, MSC, and CMA-CGM. Probably, it will take ages for a shipping…

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Studying materials for design

Materials matter. Designers use biological materials to solve trade-off problems (e.g., strong and light-weighted chair). Consumers buy transparent products. When students join the Master of Product Design and Development program in the Segal Design Institute, Northwestern University, they should take Materials Selection course in the beginning before learning about accounting, negotiation, strategy, decision making, and…

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Seoul changes its face

People want modern shopping experience though they often go to the place the tradition is preserved. Indeed, balancing the tasteless convenience and inconvenient taste is challenging. The old downtown in Seoul has been much changed and people will evaluate this movement soon.

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Street people: East vs. West

Street people are the people who live a public life on the streets of a city. Some ask us to view them as our community members (e.g., Homelessguide) and others consider them as business opportunities (e.g., Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid). Regardless of our objectives whether we want to help them or make…

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