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Furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon, Living and Arts Creative Center win Craft Prize 2020

Sept. 2, 2020 - 15:39 By Park Yuna
Bansang and lounge chairs by furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon (Courtesy of the artist)

Furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon and the Living and Arts Creative Center -- a social enterprise that promotes craft art -- were selected for Craft Prize 2020, an annual craft award organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Crafts & Design Foundation.

The annual award is given to craft artists or institutions that have contributed to promoting the beauty of craft art at home and abroad.

The creativity section of the award went to furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon whose designs are rooted in traditional Korean elements.

The intermediary section, which is given to those who helped introduce talented craft artists to the art scene, was given to the Living & Arts Creative Center. The center operates a variety of craft events, including the annual Seoul International Handmade Fair. The fair, which was launched in 2014, aims to promote craft artists in the market and the handicraft culture in Korea.

The awards ceremony will take place during the third annual Korea Craft Week which is scheduled run Sept. 18-Sept. 27 at the Culture Station Seoul 284. The craft week will feature a variety of craft markets, exhibitions and lectures, but those events are subject to change depending on the pandemic situation.

Furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon has designed a variety of furniture from chairs to tables and lamps, reinterpreting traditional elements using new materials and making adaptations for modern lifestyles.

Last year, his soban, or tea table, was presented to the heads of states attending the ASEAN Summit 2019 in Thailand as gifts.

As the winner of the craft award, Ha’s pieces will be put up for auction in collaboration with K Auction. The online auction will take place in October, and the preview session will be available on K Auction’s website, starting Oct. 10, according to K Auction.

“As a Korean, it is quite natural for me to reflect our culture in my design. I do not want to define what the traditional Korean design is, but the traditional thing comes out very naturally from me, and I consider my design to be something personal,” Ha told The Korea Herald.

“In the past, there was a tendency to underrate our traditional culture, but that has now changed a lot. The current generation loves tradition and is aware of the values of our tradition thanks to the global recognition of Korean culture.”

By Park Yuna (