all image courtesy, LDB 2016 South Korea team

London Design Biennale 2016 | Republic of Korea

Administering Body: Korean Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP)
Design Team: Austin S. Lee, Goo-Ryong Kang, Jaewon Seok, Sungjoon Won, Kiheon Shin, Jeeyeon Ha and Jae-Hyouk Sung

An international team blends east, west, ancient and modern with a digital map that visitors can explore virtually and co-create by adding their own utopian thoughts

The starting point for the Republic of Korea's installation is Ahn Gyeon's 1447 drawing Mong Yu Do Won Do (Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land). Just as Thomas More's Utopia conjured a vision of an alternative world, the South Korean design team explains how Ahn Gyeon also illustrated a utopian dreamland in his master drawing.

Ahn Gyeon's ideal vista - of a serene orchard surrounded by craggy mountains - will be digitally transformed into an interactive map by the team, who work across the US, the UK and the Republic of Korea. Visitors will be able to manipulate elements of the map by physical gestures, zooming in and navigating their way through different levels of abstractions. Patterns of text will also be layered over the image as visitors, both at the Biennale and worldwide via Twitter, add their thoughts on utopia over the course of the exhibition. To reflect eastern and western thought, these patterns will take the form of Roman alphabet characters, but also an illustrative style derived from Korean paintings.

"The theme inspired us to look into the relationship between modern digital culture and the perception of utopia in history", say the team, who have backgrounds in graphic, interaction and environmental design. "The installation aspired to visualize a view of reimagined utopia that blurs boundaries between the digital and physical to depict the world people dream of". The integration of a digital aspect to the installation also reflects the ideal representations we like to make of ourselves online. "Dreaming is a way of idealizing the world. In a sense, that modern digital space is a great reference to what people dream of and aspire to". With each person's ideals unique to themselves, the installation builds up a vast and limitless picture of utopia that grows more complex with every visitor's input.

- Christopher Turner, Director, London Design Biennale

My role: Lead coordinator, UX lead/visual interaction designer

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Media coverage
London Korean Links
Carnegie Mellon School of Design
Google Cultural Institute - TBD