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Designs for people's lives

2012/02/18 | 306 views |  | Permalink | Source

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"Seoul is getting chic. It is as attractive, neat and as fancy as New York City or as clean as Singapore".

Many places in Korea are becoming comfortable and beautiful thanks to public design.

Tony Porter, an American engaged in international trade in Singapore who comes to Korea two to three times a year, said Seoul has become a lot more beautiful than it used to be. As Porter mentioned, Seoul is changing. Every corner of Korea is changing, to be exact. Hodgepodge store signs and roadside trees are now arranged was orderly fashion to make streets look pleasant and nice.

Outdated country villages are getting revitalized and revamped with designs that give them identity. This is called public design, which makes our living spaces more convenient and prettier. Public design is something that raises the quality of life, creates the brand of a city, and makes a city more competitive, rather than generating profits for corporations.

Professor Park Young-soon (department of Human Environment & Design at Yonsei University) said, "To sharpen the competitive edge in the economy and culture, various local governments including Seoul City carry out many projects, big and small, in the name of public design. I hope spaces for culture and communication that enrich people's lives will be created through public design", he added. The following are some examples of public design that have made many parts of Seoul and Korea pleasant, beautiful, and convenient.

Streets more exciting and neater

Bus stops on the streets are changing dramatically. Seoul City has transformed the bus stops at Namsan Library, Huam, Bosung Girls' Middle and High School and Grand Hyatt Hotel into public art works.

The bus stop at Bosung Girls' Middle and High School is shaped like an old TV, drawing the students' interest. The bus stop at Huam showcases the native frogs that have almost gone extinct but have been recently discovered in the region.

(Left) Wall paintings at Dongpirang Village in Tongyoung. (Right) The old Seoul train station transformed into a multicultural space .

One of the public design items that transforms streets are streetlights. About 90 streetlamps in downtown Daegu were built with eyeglasses on them in an effort to revive the eyeglass industry; one of the leading industries of this region. At night, illuminating glass frames make the streets more glamorous. The Gyeonggi provincial government has built 27 kilometer-long bike roads alongside the Namhan River by recycling abandoned railroads and railway bridges from Namyangju to Yangpyeong. The bridges utilize the original trusses and have natural wood decks; making them seem more natural. Throughout the bridges are four locations where transparent tempered glass was installed to provide a wonderful experience to tourists allowing them to see the river streams under the bridges.

Villages once abandoned become galleries

Residents in Mangwoo dong, Seoul say that they feel as if they are watching a movie outside because they have the lines of the movie 'Forest Gump' in their wall paintings (fresco). One resident Kwon Youngsoon, says "The walls used to be very dirty and messy because of the graffiti, but thanks to the paintings, students no longer draw graffiti on the wall".

The fresco has also turned the once shabby country village into a famous tourist attraction. Dongpirang Village in Tongyoung, in south Kyeongsam province, looking down on Kangu Port is literally embroidered with colorful art work in every alley of the village. Pictures of whales that characterize this seaside village make tourist photos nicer. On a sandy beach, sculptures of elephants stand in line with the cosmos. A once poor village has now become a famous tourist attraction.

Various projects big and small are being carried out in the name of public design.

As it has been proven that the fresco can be used not only to preserve the environment but also as a tourism resource, instead of creating just a fresco, a village-wide art project is underway to turn an entire village into a gallery. The culture village "Alleh (come together)" was created in Docksancheon and Daepyeonglee in Jeju. Particularly, in Daepyeonglee there is a sculpture of a girl leaning against a red lighthouse with Byeongpung (a screen) rock as a background and tiles on the protective walls in the dock are eyecatching.

"The 8th road of Alleh" which is known to be the most beautiful road in Jeju, harbor seawalls made of colorful tiles to the dock, a lamp tower, a statue of a Jeju female diver, and Nandre (wide field) all became "a place for culture".

Parks & Culture Space Recycling Hub Sunyudo, a well-known public design park in Korea, is the first ecofriendly park that recycled the island's purification plants. Concrete structures and rusty pipes have become worn out, showing the passing of time. As a prime example of recycling, it accommodates an eco friendly playground; made from recycled wastewater treatment facilities, water purification plants turned from a coagulation basin, and gardens with green poles after removing the concrete roof from the water treatment facility.

Culture Station Seoul 284 is a prime example of a once abandoned historical place that has been restored. The old Seoul train station, which is a national historical spot 284, was restored to it's original condition in 1925. The central hall on the first floor is a multi-purpose place accommodating theaters, galleries, event halls and a cafe, while the grill on the second floor has become a hall for performances, exhibitions, seminars or conferences.

*Article from Korea Magazine

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