The fifth edition of Gwangju Design Biennale, curated by the Artistic Director Young Hye Lee, will explore cultural habits, shared knowledge and coded contexts that inform the many unspoken ways in which we communicate with one another. The concept inspired by two of the most frequently used words in Jeolla province, [Gәsigi Mәsigi] (Anything, Something) is equivalent to the English phrase “whatchamacallit (what you may call it).” The ability to grasp these hidden contexts and habits in our day-to-day communication can be especially important for designers who are constantly in search of insight into the yet-undiscovered needs and wants.

For this year’s edition, three hundred and fifty-eight artists and design firms from twenty countries participate in the Design Biennale with almost six hundred works represented. Reflecting its focus on the practicalities, rather than the aesthetics, of design, both well-established and up-and-coming designers who are actively involved in the contemporary design industry are represented in the exhibition.

The exhibition is organized into five sections: a thematic exhibition, a main exhibition, two special exhibitions and an international design workshop. The thematic exhibition is composed of the thematic exhibition hall designed by Paiksun Kim, who interprets the overall theme through the lens of the old & new; and the international exhibitions featuring works from Great Britain, 11 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Japan, China, and Australia and New Zealand. Some of the highlights include Designed to Win exhibition from the Design Museum, other interior design items utilizing the Union Jack as a motif, and a renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s works.

The main exhibition with a sub-theme ‘Design Identity’ shows the intimate relationship between design and everyday life through investigating how the change of times has been reflected in design.

The special exhibitions I & II are intended to develop Gwagnju’s identity as a city of design by proposing public and service design that relate to the citizens of the city. Special exhibition I shows everyday designs that seek to improve the quality of human life and to create high added value; special exhibition II proposes design ideas that aim to interact with the citizens in the public sectors.

The exhibition furthermore will feature the results of International Desgin Workshop, which took place in Damyang, a city famous for its bamboo products, during July and August. Twenty-five domestic design students under the tutelage of four Royal College of Art (RCA) faculties explored modern design alternatives utilizing bamboo.

The Design Biennale will also hold an International Conference on September 6. Six guests including Deyan Sudjic, Brandon Gien, Kengo Kuma and Benjamin Rollins Caldwell will speak on the themes of ‘Anything, Something’ and ‘Agriculture and Design.’

Participating design professionals & design firms include:
Paiksun Kim, Lloyd Choi, Eun Byungsoo, Kengo Kuma, Jin Rilong, Brandon Gien, Dayan Sudjic, MINI, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Barbour, Dr. Martens, Alexander McQueen, Victoria Grant, Jan Constantine, Melanie Porter, More than words, SMEG, Roberts Radio, Brinton, Hunter, Bounkhong Signavong, Kong Khao, AnuphabLoyfar, Jim Thompson, RomyDaketh, Eric Raisina, Chloe Dao, Ngo Viet Thu, Asghar Khan, Rico Rinaldi, FarhannaPura, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Kit Chan, Selphie Bong, Jiang Li, Gao Yang, Xu Ming, Xiao Tianyu, WenHao, Yang Fan, DreamFarm, MineLab Electronics Pty Ltd, Vert Design, RØDEWORKS, Hills Holdings Ltd, Tom Wegener, Tony Clark, Lisa Clark, Half A Teaspoon Pty Ltd, Ozsafe Industries, Thinking Ergonomics, RØDE, Chappelli Cycles Pty Ltd, Fallbrook Technologies Inc, Will Grant, Kim Struthers, Richard Simpson, Kang Chul, Christina Heekyung Kaan, Hur Unkyung, Lee Kyoo seg, Chang Eung bok, Bae young jin, Kim Jeeyoung, Ahn Dan, Hwang Seungjoon, Chang Kwang Hyo, Interbrand, Lee Woo Jin

Accreditation for the 2013 Gwangju Design Biennale press tour is currently open through August 31. Professional accreditation is available for artists/designers, curators, museum professionals, gallerists and related professionals; media accreditation is available to all members of the media (print, TV, radio, online, photographers, technicians, etc.). Please note that the 2013 Gwangju Design Biennale press and professional preview and the Opening Ceremony are scheduled for the 5th of September.

About Gwangju Design Biennale

Established by Gwangju Metropolitan City and co-hosted by the Gwangju Biennale Foundation and the Gwangju Design Center, Gwangju Design Biennale was initiated in 2004 to help promote the local design industry as well as contribute to national and international design discourses and practices. With the official opening of the first Gwangju Design Biennale, Light into Life in 2005, there have been four editions, including the critically acclaimed Dogadobisangdo (design is design is not design), the most recent, directed by Seung H-sang and Ai Weiwei in 2011.