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[Design Forum] How design affects us

Design plays broad role in creating a better life

Nov. 25, 2014 - 11:17 By Lee Woo-young
A couple asked architect Cho Min-suk to build “the most unique house in the world” in the scenic area of Heyri in Paju, a town near the border with North Korea.

The couple believed that the design of their house would affect their children’s behavior and thinking.

“The couple told me they didn’t want their kids to grow up in a thicket of identical-looking box-like apartments and have the same viewpoints with others,” said Cho at the press preview of his architecture exhibition on Tuesday.

Experts say our environment shapes the way we think and act. To stimulate creativity, artists design their studios to maximize natural light, open space and even the height of the ceiling. It is design that decides the shape of the places we live, work and play.

Italian designer and architect Alessandro Mendini noted that design aimed to bring positive changes from members of society. The LED lamps he designed for the lamp brand Ramun received good reviews for their eye protecting properties and their uniform distribution of light.

“We could say ‘everything is design’ and we could state that our quality of life is intimately connected with what is ‘beautiful’ in all things,” said Mendini in a recent interview with The Herald Business.

“The utopia of design is to contribute to the salvation of the globe and to improve the future of humanity. It means creating objects that are suited to developing more positive types of behavior in social groups.”

Designers have sought to improve the quality of life by bringing practical and aesthetic qualities to office space, home and products we use. But it’s also going beyond the traditional boundaries to those areas that seemed irrelevant to design, such as food, finance, production systems and organizational practices.

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of “Think Design: Innovation by Design,” said in a speech at the Herald Design Forum 2013 that creative design can be used to tackle problems and bring innovations in the way we work.

“We need tools of design to solve problems in new ways whether it’s health care, education or fine art,” he said in the speech.

Joon Oh!, creative director of AmorePacific, who had previously spearheaded changes in the way we use credit cards at Hyundai Card, said the traditional fields of design we understand has been due to categories made by academic institutions.

“The fields of design such as communication design and product design have been set by design departments in colleges. But what matters now is not creating a beautiful, functional product, but designing the whole experience with a brand,” Joon Oh! said in a phone interview. He was invited to speak about his design innovations at Hyundai Card and AmorePacific at the Herald Design Forum in 2012 and 2013.

The former creative director of Hyundai Card is one of the few designers who has applied design to unconventional sectors to take users’ experience to the next level. He changed not only the physical design of credit cards, but also associated them with culture by holding concerts by popular foreign musicians and art exhibitions.

After moving to the biggest cosmetics company in Korea, he undertook reforms in packaging design, store layout and product promotions and others to provide customers different experiences with the brand.

“The way people look at design is slowly changing. The change is prominent in much-loved brands,” he said.

By Lee Woo-young (