Seoul (South Korea) – As the City of Seoul leaped its first step as the World Design Capital 2010, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is hosting series of events and programs including “The World Design Capital Seoul Story” at the Seoul Square (December 18, 2009 – January 17, 2010), the World Design Cities Summit (February 23-24, 2010), the Seoul Design Assets Exhibition (January 8-March 7, 2010, at the Seoul History Museum), the Seoul Design Fair (September 27-October 7, 2010 at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium) , as well as other notable events throughout the year.

The Story of Seoul, World Design Capital 2010

The Story of Seoul, World Design Capital 2010 consists of citizens’ participatory events such as the “Seoul Festival of Lights” and “Seoul Plaza Winter Story” under the theme “World Design Capital Seoul 2010: A Winter’s Tale Seen through Light.” Venues include, the WDC experience Hall, WDC with Haechi, and the WDC Information Center.

On December 18, 2009, the first official event, the inauguration of Seoul as the World Design Capital and The Story of World Design Capital Seoul, was attended by Se-Hoon Oh, the Mayor of Seoul City, Mr. KIM, Ki-sung, chairman of the Seoul Metropolitan Council, Mr. UH, Yoon-dae, chairman of the Presidential Council of National Branding, Mr. SON, Kyung-sik, chairman of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. KIM, Hyun-tae, chairman of Korean Institute of Design Promotion, and over one hundred guests from the design and business communities. They pledged themselves to making a successful World Design Capital Seoul 2010 that will raise the profile of Korea.

Seoul Mayor Se-hoon Oh assessed that Seoul has laid the foundation to compete with other prominent world cities. Seoul is acquiring an international brand as a design city through its official designation as the World Design Capital, as well as its continuing efforts to enhance its image as a modern urban city.

Mayor Oh emphasised that the role of design in a city should not only be restricted to convenience, aesthetics, and safety but stressed that design must also be viewed as an essential element for survival in the twenty-first century. He also stressed the need for cooperation between the design and business communities so that Seoul can leapfrog forward as “an international design hub.”

The chairman of the Presidential Council of National Branding expressed that Seoul’s designation as World Design Capital will contribute immensely to advancing Korea’s national brand and emphasised teamwork between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the National Brand Committee to raise Korea’s standing in the international community. The President of Korea’s Chamber of Commerce, stressed that design is an essential element to a modern urban city’s competitiveness and acknowledged that Seoul’s competitiveness has been strengthened due to Mayor Oh’s design policies.

In cooperation with corporate partners, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is planning to use World Design Capital Seoul 2010 as a spring board to accelerate marketing efforts. Utilising the various marketing outlets of corporations, Seoul will promote World Design Capital Seoul domestically and worldwide where partner corporations will be able to enhance their brand images. An example of this is the alliance “Make Seoul Attractive” between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and SK Telecom formed on December 8th, which will promote WDC Seoul 2010. It will also serve as a co-marketing model of how city governments and corporations work together.

Welcoming 2010 the year of World Design Capital Seoul, Seoul Mayor Se-Hoon Oh and Icsid President Mark Breitenberg (United States) hit the Bosingak bell announcing the commencement of the year of World Design Capital Seoul at the “Tolling –a-bell Ceremony at Bosingak” on December 31, 2009.

Photo: Icsid President Mark Breitenberg (second from right) and Seoul Mayor Sehoon Oh (far right) ring the bell marking the new year.

WDC Seoul 2010: Program of events

Throughout 2010, the year of World Design Capital Seoul, the city and the design community agreed to work mutually on efforts at marketing and promoting 141 design programs and events including private design events. As a result, the Seoul Metropolitan Government expects to raise public interest and expand public participation in design.

There are 52 programs among the 141 total, hosted by Seoul Metropolitan Government including WDC Seoul 2010 New Year’s Eve, the Seoulite Festival, WDC World Design Cities Summit, and the Seoul Design Fair.

Seoul City hosted the WDC Seoul 2010 New Year’s Eve, and the Seoulite Festival at the Bosingak Bell, the Seoul Plaza, and the Gwanghwamun Square from December 18, 2009 to January 17, 2010.

WDC World Design Cities Summit

The WDC World Design Cities Summit will be held for two days from February 23rd, to February 24th. The summit will feature mayors from over 20 global cities discussing how cities can advance and grow through design.

WDC World Design Cities Summit will be attended by mayors of world cities who are making notable progress in design development policies. Specifically the Mayors of Torino, the pilot city for the World Design Capital in 2008, and Helsinki, the World Design Capital for 2012 will attend. Participating mayors will discuss the theme “Design and Cities” and will present a variety of ways cities can grow through design. The results of the conference will be reflected in Seoul’s future development policies.

Seoul Design Assets Exhibition

Seoul Design Assets Exhibition will be held from January 8 to March 7, 2010 at the Seoul History Museum (Seoul Museum of History) presenting 600 years’ of design history as it combines with advanced IT technologies such as 3D holograms, multi-media, and audiovisual presentations. The exhibition will enable a re-evaluations of the traditions and values of Seoul design and will be an opportunity to promote the identity and superiority of Seoul design going forward.

Seoul Design Assets is a rediscovery and reinterpretation of superior assets from cultural, historical, and modern urban resources that have significance in the present and the future. The final 51 most significant assets were selected in July of 2009.

Seoul Design Fair

The main program for WDC Seoul 2010, the Seoul Design Fair, which was developed from the Seoul Design Olympiads of 2008 and 2009, will be held from September 17 to December 7, 2010. The theme for 2010 is “Design for All'”and it will be held at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium.

Other events of interest

Additionally, in July of 2010, the “Seoul International Design Workshop” for domestic and internationally emerging designers will be held. On Children’s Day (May 5, 2010), the children’s design creativity camp will allow children to experience design and have fun. Throughout 2010, competitions and events via the internet promoting the WDC will be held.

Objectives for 2010

During the one year entitlement as the World Design Capital, various programs and events to improve the city’s image will enable Seoul to anchor its foundation to compete with internationally advanced cities and strengthen the brand value of Seoul City while further boosting the Republic of Korea’s national standing.

The efficacy of design is not limited to making a city pleasant and convenient, and safe but is an essential tool to a city’s survival in the twenty-first century. Throughout 2010, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is planning to create jobs, cultivate the design industry, strengthen the competitiveness of the City of Seoul, and further improve the happiness index of people’s lives through design.