Domestic and international design furniture collection at DDP       'FURNITURE OF METONYMICAL MOMENT  – WESTERN FURNITURE'      

DDP’s Design furniture collection presenting

“art in everyday life” on display

The DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Baik Jong-Won, president), a space for ‘dreams, design, play’, features a collection of 1,869 furniture pieces created by a total of 112 young designers and established designers from 30 nations. Visitors to DDP, an architectural marvel designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, can appreciate the diversity of the furniture pieces in every corner of the new landmark up close and personal. Korea’s top-notch furniture experts were assembled to organize the collection, which they hope conveys a sense of “art in everyday life.”

The DDP design furniture collection highlights diversity, creativity, and originality. Here, “diversity” implies various historical periods, locations, cultures, and designs; “creativity” signifies design inspiration and highlights the new value of design in space; and “originality” reflects the historical and educational value of the furniture pieces imbued with the designers’ philosophies. The collection encourages visitors to adopt a different mindset in relation to furniture by taking the time to appreciate both its functional and aesthetic values. The collection features furniture made with materials as diverse as the designs themselves, such as plastic, cement, imitation marble, steel, wood, leather, fabric, and bamboo.

Marshmallow Sofa, George Nelson, 1960/1960, From the collection of: DDP
felt chair, Marc Newson, 1989/1989, From the collection of: DDP
Seesaw, Louise Campbell, 2002/2002, From the collection of: DDP
Pratone, Giorgio Ceretti, Piero Derossi, Ricardo Rosso, 1971/1971, From the collection of: DDP



Last October, I decided to visit DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) in search of inspiration for the upcoming Western furniture exhibition at the very place. By the time I arrived, it was already dark. I took a short tour starting from the plaza flowing with beaming lights, then to the ‘Lee Gan’ water gate which water from Mt. Nam used to flow, and finally, to Seoul city wall. I remembered Zaha Hadid’s saying that she wanted to visualize the ‘Lee Gan’ water ways from the Chosun dynasty through architectural design of DDP. The curves of the exterior seemed to continue forever regardless of where I stand.

Although the exterior seemed bit crude on a personal level, I paused for some time to simply observe the high-end technology that utilized new materials, and the futuristic design that brought about the venue’s existence. Perhaps Hadid wanted to recreate the imperceptible time that transcends the past, present and future compressed in her design. Thus, provide the public with its primitive energy created within. This is how I saw her design of pure joy.

Furniture has been transformed in myriad forms to satisfy the changing trends and needs in time. In addition, the continuous development in material and technology has helped to instantly build the enormous world of design. It is undeniable that signature pieces from Bauhaus, Pop Art, Modernism, and Contemporary Art serve as milestones in the history of art. However, my selections were made to solely explore the space that DDP offers as well as Hadid’s purpose of design.

First, I selected pieces such as S Bench, Serac Bench, and etc. that shared DDP’s non-uniform, streamlined DNA. I’d hoped to pick a fun and an amusing design to be enjoyed by the public of all ages. And having this in mind, I’ve selected ‘Spun Side Chair’ which surprisingly turns out to be popular among adults as well as kids, ‘Pratone’ that naturally arouses everyone’s desire to jump in, and ‘Showtime’ that feels like it just popped out of Alice in Wonderland. All of these design furniture are fun to look at and immediately draws viewers’ affection.

Millions of people visit DDP per day. People will talk, laugh, take break, and spend their afternoon at the plaza. I hope people to spend parts of their time sitting in these chairs. The chairs may require some time for people to get familiarized. But I’d say when people take in the energy and truly enjoy while sitting in these chairs, this will do for me. Pure joy of design will do just right.

Pony, Eero aarnio, 1973/1973, From the collection of: DDP




 Western furniture directing of DDP began from understanding Zaha Hadid's architectural design of her free form structural space implemented with 21st century technology rather than focusing on 'furniture'. DDP has the charm in the interior designed to allow the experience with the flow of fluid above all, and is the space in which the scale with dynamic change stands out.

 The space with the flow of the lines that narrow and widen expresses fullness and emptiness, and the linear interior space can be a roof as much as a ceiling. The linear element is demonstrated to the fullest extent in the lighting, various facilities, and the furniture placed throughout the space, which share the context of metonymical scene that Zaha Hadid intended to show with DDP.

DDP Information Desk, Zaha HADID, 2013/2014, From the collection of: DDP

“In order to reform the floor plan of the modern house, the furniture Issue should be resolved first. Otherwise, it doesn't work no matter how hard you try to realize the modern concept.” - Le Corbusier.

 As Le Corbusier stated, a great number of architects who set the milestones in modern architecture are in agreement that the definition of space may change depending on furniture design, and furniture has a huge impact on the atmosphere of the interior that the architect intends. 

 Although the views in such context urging to consist the furniture in DDP with masterpieces of the design trend of each era, the western furniture section of DDP focused on revealing the harmony of the whole as much as the building and the furniture play the same tune in a single flow, just as Le Corbusier defined furniture as interior equipment. 

 It means that furniture plays the role of the medium to complement the building in certain times, while playing the role of the feature of the space as the focus point in the space in other times.

the information desk by Zaha Hadid, which is almost a miniature of Zaha Hadid's design, Zaha's bench,

the BD Love Bench, a design chair of Ross Lovegrove, the genius in curve design

Bd love bench, Ross Lovegrove, 2002/2002, From the collection of: DDP
Spun Chair, thomas heatherwick, 2010/2010, From the collection of: DDP

The Spun Chair which was imbued with the entertaining function of furniture was also placed in order to allow viewers to be fascinated by the architectural beauty of central staircases in Baewoomteo inside DDP

they can meet Jaime Hayon's Poltrona with Cover which boasts accentuated modernistic elegance in a concise and modern shape while maintaining a classical atmosphere,

 Ball Chair that began from the spherical form of the simple geometric shape made in 1963

 the Drift, and the Nekton Stool were placed in order to allow the features of Zaha Hadid can be experienced at once

Poltronas Showtime, Jaime Hayon, 2006/2006, From the collection of: DDP
ball chair, Eero aarnio, 1963/1966, From the collection of: DDP
OTO chair, Peter Karpf, 2010/2010, From the collection of: DDP
nekton stool set, Zaha hadid, 2007/2007, From the collection of: DDP
RM58(glosy), Roman Modzelewski, 2010/2010, From the collection of: DDP
Panton, Verner Panton, 1959/1959, From the collection of: DDP

Eero Arnio's Formula and Tomato which was selected for its association with spaceship's landing.

formula chair, Eero aarnio, 1998/1998, From the collection of: DDP
Tomato chair, Eero aarnio, 1971/1971, From the collection of: DDP
tokyo pop chair, Tokujin Yoshioka, 2010/2010, From the collection of: DDP
Containeer Stool, Marcel Wanders, 2012/2012, From the collection of: DDP

In addition, DDP has various pieces of furniture that imbued it with the sense of place such as the Capitello and the Container Stool in which a curvy shape characteristic of ancient architecture is superbly designed in a modern way

and the Paimio Armchair designed in 1931 with perfect harmony between curves and straight lines.

capitello, Studio 65, 1971/1971, From the collection of: DDP
Paimio Chair, Alver alto, 1932/1932, From the collection of: DDP
Other one chair, Leif Jorgensen, 2012/2012, From the collection of: DDP
Cabinet - Tout va Bien White, Antoine + Manuel, 2006/2006, From the collection of: DDP
Bibendum Arm chair, Eileen Gray, 1929/1929, From the collection of: DDP

As demonstrated in all these, the western furniture of DDP is the arena for the feast of the works acclaimed for flexible feel with soft curves while being dedicated to their original functions. They also show how various materials such as plastic, wood, glass fiber, and metal have evolved and can evolve in curvy shapes. It is in fact difficult and extenuating to coordinate countless flows smoothly and with beauty.

DDP western furniture that cherishes a great proportional beauty in all aspects will evolve into various exhibitions, workshops, and furniture tour programs in the future. It will continue reinvent its vale as exhibition programs such as bio design that allows the fusion or the comparison between design and nature around the themes of characteristics of materials, formative beauty, and the curves resembling the lines of mountains and rivers.

clover, Ron arad, 2007/2007, From the collection of: DDP
Credits: Story

SUPERVISION — SEOUL DESIGN FOUNDATION             AHN Sang-soo, Chairman of the board/        BAEK Jong won, CEO/               CHEONG Kook hyun, Director General of DDP Group
PLANING — DDP EXHIBISION DEVISION, SEOUL DESIGN FOUNDATION/                   PARK Sam chul, Director of Exhibition Division/   PARK J.B., Director of Space Team/         SUH Hye-young, Manager/             KIM Teasun, Manager/               LEE Taehoon, Manager/              KIM Bora/SEONG Junyoung/PARK Jewon/JEONG Hyewon
DDP FURNITURE PURCHASE AND MAKING — INNOVAD Inc./                   LEE Hong lyoul/                  KIM Ki hong/                    RYU Jae hyeong                  
WESTERN FURNITURE   — aA Design Museum/                KIM Myoung han/YOON Suk kyung/KANG Ji young
ZAHA HADID INFORMATION DESK — OH Sea hwan/                   DAEMYUNG ATM Inc.                SEOL Jin up/ YANG Jea ho
DDP Furniture Collection Movie — KWON Myung Kuk, Director

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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