Daebak!* Design students visit Korea’s capital of design

Six days were not enough time for students from the School of Design to see all of Seoul but they sure tried their best to!

Lauded as one of the design capitals of the world, with the opening of Zaha Hadid’s critically acclaimed architectural style revitalising the tourist centre of Dongdaemun and the Hallyu wave cresting on shores all over the world today, the prospect of spending time in Seoul makes any design student’s heart skip a beat!

In September 2014, 28 second-year students from the Apparel Design & Merchandising, Interactive Media Design and Visual Communication courses spent a week in Seoul. Zaha Hadid’s neo-futurist design, the spectacular Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park was on the itinerary of course. For a glimpse into out-of-home digital advertisement, media and visual merchandising, there was nothing to top the shopping mecca of Myeongdong where retail strategies have been honed to an art and a science. The students also visited the Samsung Innovation Museum for a preview of the latest and the best coming out of the electronics giant.

The best of any exchange programme is usually the chance to meet other design students for an exchange of views, selfies and email addresses and this trip to Seoul was no different.

The ADM students visited Ewha University, the oldest and most prestigious women’s university in Seoul for a discussion and project presentations while the IMD and VSC students headed for a workshop with Seoul National University (SNU) students. There, they worked in groups of six – four from TP, two from SNU to brainstorm ideas for solving urban problems with the topic of 'Improving Taxi Services in Seoul'. Using the methodology from SNU, students did some sketches and research materials and presented them at the end of the workshop. Although the session was short, the students had fun exchanging views and making new friends, language barriers notwithstanding.

By the time the workshops were over, both Korean and Singaporean students were fast Facebook and Instagram friends. The disappearance of cultural borders, the open sharing and exchange of ideas is what typifies design work today. In that visit to Seoul, the students got more than just a visit to a different country; they took home with them, friendship and ties that will last longer than the six unforgettable days they spent in Seoul.

*daebak: Korean exclamation for ‘great’ or ‘fantastic’