Human City

The city as a place of life that creates an organic community of understanding and respect through various human-centered design

By Gwangju Design Biennale


Human CityGwangju Design Biennale

‘Humancity’ presents the city as a place of life that creates an organic community of understanding and respect through various human-centered design. A space to socialize and communicate together, the universal design of consideration and tolerance, the minimal value of revitalization and healing that is focused on the essence,future of advanced technology and sustainable vision for the next generation. Various cases of social innovation are shown through the works of leading designers and companies. 

Main exhibition4 curator interviewGwangju Design Biennale

Interview Excerpts from the curator of Main Exhibition 4, Minyoung Choi

The Human City exhibition aims to deliver the sense of humanity and community. This exhibition draws what will the future city look like by introducing future mobility system, future architecture and building concepts, future commercial facilities with an addition to the various household objects such as daily necessities, kitchenwares, furnitures, electronic products. It presents design for human being and for community as a whole. In this exhibition, I wanted to show that design can resolve a variety of the possible societal challenges from small to big in the future. Because I believe both design and technology have the power to open up dialogues or discussions over solving diverse social issues.

Sequence Square Sequence Square by Ilsuk Kim and Meta Space Design LabGwangju Design Biennale

Harmony and Coexistence

A city is a place of harmony where various spaces create harmony. 'Sequence Square' is a pavilion pace that symbolizes the city and is a space of Sequence Scapes containing stories. 'Sequence Square' is a space where rhythmical variations of the mass are mixed together, and dynamic scenes where scenes in which the activities of people overlap are created. 

AVENUE II by Won baek Shin, Hyuns Hong, Seol Lee and LOVOT LABGwangju Design Biennale

AVENUE II is presented on the theme of the Geumnam-ro in front of the old Jeonnam Provincial Government in Gwangju. LOVOT LAB presents the AVENUE series on the theme of avenues which are symbolic places that hold the long history of a metropolitan city and heated debated about our current society happen every day. With light, the artists seek to reinterpret the dynamic spectacles of the street in which the past intersects with the present, diverse aspirations, life styles, various ideologies and conflicts are intertwined.

Pavegen by Pavegen Korea Co., LtdGwangju Design Biennale

Footsteps can power arange of local applications including LED lighting, data capture, trans-mission,and environmental monitoring.

Modren Boy Modren Boy by Youngho Kim and ’n companyGwangju Design Biennale

Although there were many people such as politicians, educators, stars, etc who could have led the era but what is clear is that those who worked in the hidden side were the real protagonists, the Modern Boy. Self illuminating being, Modern Boy The modern man who must live with an uncertain future must seek answers from their own. With their own will, when lights in their head can light up the future, my life has a value. The force that moves our society lies in Modern Boy who illuminates by itself, a real protagonist of our time.

Amuleto by Alessandro Mendini and RAMUNGwangju Design Biennale

RAMUN amuleto was a landmark achievement in the history of lamp design because it was the first embodiment of a slim ring design using a new light source High CRI LED. This 51-levels dimmable LED desk lamp inspired by surgical light represents the pinnacle of advanced lighting technology, which provides highly uniform brightness of the light. This articulation mechanism of reproducing a human’s arm has a durable structure without wires or springs protruding from the end proving its unparalleled technology.
A bulletproof glass Stained - pla inspired by stained glass maximizes benefits of the material, such as giving splendid and various colors and high clarity, and flaunts its beauty as an ornamental object.

Link(링크) by Jeoungsik Yun and Designmu CompanyGwangju Design Biennale

Man is a social animal that lives as a group. We act and think independently, but through endless connections we form our culture and future. The strong nature of this connection is the essence
of human being and through it we are infinitely creating our new future. While it is not visible to our eyes at the moment, we are living and spending our lives connected to many networks. We unconsciously connect to each other and end our lives through love, friendship, hate, and happiness. These invisible yet multiple links are represented in one single line and captures the natural light as the media.

Vienna series by Kyuho Song, Jungu Kim and found/FoundedGwangju Design Biennale

The Vienna series are furniture designed as assembly module furniture system. The user is able to participate in the final design of the furniture and can combine the desired color combinations, sizes and shapes according to their own space or taste. The Viennese stick, a module that is the basis of the Vienna series, was inspired by a piece of wood.

Objet 336, Candle Holder by Kyuho Song, Jungu Kim and found/FoundedGwangju Design Biennale

‘OBJET 336, Aluminum’ is a candle holder
set that symbolizes beautiful island of Dokdo. It is composed of cap, as snuffer, body, as candle holder, and semi-circle board, as reflector. It shows minimal elements of design, making the atmosphere blighter with interior objet. Body, made up with aluminium, are delicatedly manufactured.

Gye-dong Project Gye-dong Project by Sangwon You and Daegu UniversityGwangju Design Biennale

The combination of traditional Korean woodwork made with hand tools and the Western modeling structures output through 3D printer nozzles, in other words, the human hands and the hands of the machine, which are oriented toward humanity.

OPod Tube House by James LawGwangju Design Biennale

Universal Value

The universal design of consideration and tolerance

An Ju An Ju by An Ju Shinya Kojima & Ayaka Kojima x Shingo Katori and Kooo ArchitectureGwangju Design Biennale

One by one small, weak, and gentle objects are gathered and linked together to become a strong space. The components of An Ju are small and soft materials as opposed to heavy and large, building architecture through using light materials to carefully protect people from the outside environment like a cloth gently wraps a baby. It is flexible unlike typical hard and invariable building materials such as brick. People’s lifestyle changes day by day, but there is not any flexibility for the container that supports our way of life. What if the future buildings’ size and shape can be changed and be built by tenants themselves according to their living situation? As a country with frequent earthquakes, we hope to share with the world through An Ju our vision to consider the current situation and propose a solution through architecture about the future.

OPod Tube House by James LawGwangju Design Biennale

OPod Tube House is an experimental, low cost, micro living housing unit to ease Hong Kong’s affordable housing problems. Constructed out of low cost and readily available 2.5m diameter concrete water pipe, the design ultilizes the strong concrete structure to house a mirco-living apartment for one/two persons with fully kitted out living, cooking and bathroom spaces inside 100 sq.ft. Each OPod Tube Hous is equipped with smart phone locks for online access as well as space saving furniture that maximises the space inside. OPod Concrete Pipe Housing can be stacked to become a low rise building and a modular community in a short time, and can also be located/ relocated to different sites in the city.

NowLight by Graham Ashley Brett and thereforeGwangju Design Biennale

Nowlight is the world’s most efficient manually powered generator and is the first manually powered device that can provide Tier 1 energy access. Nowlight is a hybrid product and can also be charged from mains electricity or a solar panel. This means our customers can make the most of grid electricity and sunlight when they are available but crucially they will never have to rely on them. For the 2 billion people who live without reliable access to electricity or who, Nowlight is a vital source of energy.

GravityLight 02 by Graham Ashley Brett and thereforeGwangju Design Biennale

Hang a GravityLight from a wall or ceiling, fill the bag with rocks or sand and winch it up. You may not realise it, but you've just created a battery. As the bag slowly falls to the ground it drives a generator through a gearbox, which provides direct electrical power for an LED, creating 20 minutes of light. Gravity Light was designed to provide a clean, affordable alternative to kerosene. Unlike other solutions, Gravity Light has no realiance on external factors such as sunlight.

Dynamic MTB for Active Aging by Mannyeun Kim and Designmu CompanyGwangju Design Biennale

The centenarian age, MTB bike for the active aging generation. They dislike to be called old and still think of themselves as a young generation. They are reluctant in using products that are dedicated for seniors because it is the same as admitting themselves as seniors. The same it goes with MTB bicycles. While this product is more stylish and does not look so different than other general MTB bikes in its appearance, it is designed to suit the physical conditions of the senior generation.

Subscription Shelter for Nomads by Kyoung-Ho Ko, Sung-Gul Hwang and Inter Lab at Hongik UniversityGwangju Design Biennale

The shelter was designed with a service model in mind that allows moves as necessary with one common subscription—rather than buying a home in fixed locations.

Dosnoventa Infinito by Sungyub Lee, Jiyoon Han, Hoyoung YounGwangju Design Biennale

INFINITO, is the new type of wheelchair, has broken the typical wheelchair shape, and facilitated seat height adjustment. Not only does INFINITO enable its users’ eye level up, it also broadens users’ leisure activity circle. In consequence, it could expand their living area. INFINITO is a leisure mobility which could change disabled people’s life.

Santiago Collection Santiago Collection by René Šulc and TON a.sGwangju Design Biennale

Santiago is a comprehensive furniture collection
designed for people with reduced mobility,suitable for both home and professional care settings.

great grape: circular economic system by Minyang Kim and grape labGwangju Design Biennale

Great Grape is an artwork by grape lab using their signature product, g.stand, as a way to experiment with the ‘bunch of grapes’ theory from a design point of view. ‘g.stand’ is a stand made by folding a single sheet of 100% recycled paper, using minimum amounts of resources and technology — with no bonding or coatings. It enabled grape lab’s collaboration with young artists with intellectual disabilities to create a sustainable platform to solve environmental and social problems from a design point of view.

WellFamily House by DEMANDGwangju Design Biennale

WellFamily House is a Digital Healthcare Solution which provides Senior Dementia and Fall Prevention service.

United by rmrp and intenxivGwangju Design Biennale

Minimal Value

The minimal value of revitalization and healing that is focused on the essence

Element House Element House by Youngchul Jang and WISE ArchitectureGwangju Design Biennale

The Element House presents the fundamental meaning of dwelling separating house functions with eating, sleeping, washing and poopping.

Dongchoon Market by Jeeyong An, Hyangeun Lee and MANIFESTO Architecture Design LabGwangju Design Biennale

How will you melt Humanity down a commercial space? The Architecture of Korea that considers human beings,the win-win commerce platform Dong-chun Sangwhoi, which was developed based on the modern Korean concept. Chae,Dam,Jang, the architectural elements of Hanok, reinterpreted to dissolve relaxation and consideration in space. And the goods from the small businessmen filling the place.

Leaves by rmrp and intenxivGwangju Design Biennale

The fallen leaves are in my space. The fallen leaves may not be the perfect shape for something. You can put something on it or enjoy the space. The levitation feel conveys the unexpected opposite of the material of this design.

Impact Inside by Jiana KimGwangju Design Biennale

While appearing similar in character, The individual pieces are different in their particularity. Each is unique. Cast in semi-controlled settings, the base of each from is shaped like a plan bowl while the top of the piece has a configuration that is quite special: its tips are created through chance in the casting process and during firing. I value simplicity, equilibrium and uneasy blend of safety and insecurity. I want to avoid complete synthesis.

Solid Round Tray by SangA Leem and saleem atelierGwangju Design Biennale

Solid brass tray with three-dimensional apperance. It looks like a solid mass but is made of connected metal surface to reduce weight.

Curved Incense Holder by SangA Leem and saleem atelierGwangju Design Biennale

It is a decorative object that shows off the elegance of the curve with the fuction of a holder to incense.

Craft&Chef Craft&Chef by JungHoon Oh, Leo Kang and Pius&LeoGwangju Design Biennale

craft & chef project is research to inherit and develop the traditional heritage with contemporary dining art and culture.This tray is made of Korean natural lacquer(OTTCHIL) with modern usability.

The Korean Tea towel The Korean Tea towel by Jeongeun Kang and VONZGwangju Design Biennale

The Korean Tea towel is made natural Linen & Cotton. As the beautiful patterns of Korea’s Pottery Heritages the world over; are reflected into the warm texture of Linen & Cotton, the tea towels display the beauty of Korea wherever they are placed.

LEAVES TO TEA by Kosei ShirotaniGwangju Design Biennale

The Leaves to Tea set is perfect for enjoying Japanese tea. In relevance to the recent trend of Japanese tea in Europe and North America, this tea set balances western and eastern design, as it is designed to integrate western and European influences into traditional Japanese ceramic designs. As the result of combining modern design influenced by Bauhaus and Mizusashi (a water container used for Japanese tea) from 17th century Arita, Japan, the Leaves to Tea set was created with a modernized traditional Japanese style.

Grav by Sung JangGwangju Design Biennale

The traditional Korean relationship with nature differs from that of the West and most other cultures. Whereas the nature has always been the subject of conquer for the West, the Korean perspective emerges from the idea of symbiosis. Instead of using technology to wield and control the resources from the nature, its traditional design takes on the path of appreciating, respecting and yearning to find the best in nature with least of human intervention. Taking on the Korean design mindset, my work was limited to finding the object from the nature and merely situating it for human use. A found stone is supported by fabricated structure to offer functions of seating and table surface, allowing the user an interaction with unprocessed nature.

One Series One Series by 손동훈 and Donghoon SohnGwangju Design Biennale

Limited resources like materials and methods sometimes stimulate designer’s imagination. One series uses a single sheet of metal without waste so that it creates novel aesthetic and functional relationship by minimizing the making process. One bench delivers visual balance and tension from the crossing between same curved shapes. It works functionally as a bench and people can feel different balance according to sitting position.

Bike Share Farm by HE Zhe, James Shen,ZANG Feng and PAO/PIDOGwangju Design Biennale

Next Generation and Sustainability

Sustainable vision for the next generation.

ROK. COFFEE ROK. COFFEE by Graham Ashley Brett and thereforeGwangju Design Biennale

R.O.K have created the perfect alternative to coffeemakers that require disposable capsules, pods and filters. By using only kinetic energy to power it, the Presso cuts down your waste.

Mars Case by LI Hu, Huang Wenjing and OPEN ArchitectureGwangju Design Biennale

MARS Case merges technology,product design,and architecture,into one synthesized product — The Home.The project thoughtfully pushes us to reevaluate our definition of an ideal house as future living.

Mars Case videoGwangju Design Biennale

Purisoo by Minjin Choi and U2 System, Inc.Gwangju Design Biennale

With manual pumping,any water source can be purified and filtered into clean, safe drinking water. The pump draws dirty water through the filter, filling the bottle only with clean, drinkable water.

Bike Share Farm by HE Zhe, James Shen,ZANG Feng and PAO/PIDOGwangju Design Biennale

Bike Share Farm is a solar - powered planting system on wheels. Placed atop two interconnected bicycles, this hydroponic farm is cycled from place to place, bringing the experience of urban farming to a wider community. Inspired by bike share systems, the frame of the Bike Share Farm allows for bicycles to be interchangeable. At each stop a new cyclist can attach his bike to the structure, replacing the existing bike.

Credits: Story


Kanghyun Lee
Minyoung Choi

Project Manager
Sowon Lee
Chaeseok Lim

Graham Ashley Brett
James Law Cybertecture
OPEN Architecture
Shinya Kojima
Ayaka Kojima
Shingo Katori
René Šulc
Kosei Shirotani
Alessandro Mendini
Jeoungsik Yun

Gwangju Design Center
Eunji Choi

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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