June 2007

A sign maker‘s heaven

Due to technical difficulties this week’s posts have been delayed with apologies.

After arriving on Sunday night in Seoul, eating with our hosts, one crashed out and resurfaced ten ours later in a hotel in Mapu-go. Seoul is one the world’s great cities that is home to approximately ten million people. Like London, Seoul has evolved around a winding river — the Han-gang. I am lecturing at the Hongki University and staying nearby in a university district called Mapo-gu. Mapo-gu is a youthful area that is a haven for Seoul’s youth looking to escape the constraints of Korea’s curious and rigorous customs and traditions. For example in traditional Korean circles it is a unwritten law to discourage kissing in public.

Mapo-gu is in the north-west of the city and it bloomed into a vibrant spot it is after the 2002 World Soccer Cup hosted by Seoul. One of the stadium’s for the World Cup was near Mapo-gu and turned out to be a popular destination for spectators looking to celebrate.

As compared to Melbourne, Seoul; Mapu-go are lively and busy hubs were people on foot, on bikes, in buses, and cars clash in every which way. Seoul is not the place for those seeking a cruisy life, people work hard and long hours, enjoy socialising and are happy to sleep when ever appropriate. It was great to catch up with designers from Korea — Young Min and Jess, former publication design students from my lecturing days at Swinburne. It is wonderful to see a place through the eyes, ears and minds as a local would.

As one can see from the attached images, many of the fringe areas of Seoul have seen and experienced the direct effect of new cheap signing technologies, such as computer vinyl cutting and propriority light boxes. With liberal local government regulation cheap signing is applied to the urban landscape as simply as promotional stickers it seems. The result is an assault to the eyes, however it would be a less quaint and charming place without it.

Thanks to Shelley and Sarah in freezing Melbourne, for making the work happen in my absence. Thanks to the wonderful people of Seoul for making my life and stay in Seoul so pleasant, especially Professor Ahn, Mrs Ahn, my class and last but not least SaeWa.

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Up, up and away

After many late nights, a lecture near completion, the time came to book a taxi, lug suitcases, show documents, rush and sit in one spot for over ten hours. It is a strange thing indeed to leave behind the winter of Melbourne to greet the summer of Seoul.

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Design can be oh so cruel…

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My Nan, who is as lively as ever in her 90s, once said to me — that growing old is the greatest disease of all.

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In a land of candy cake gardens and…

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Let‘s hope that the future tenant at this South Yarra property can live up to the neighbour‘s and the real estate agent‘s expectations.

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Quiet white…

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The suburbs of Melbourne was blanketed in a heavy white veil today, which slowed down a frenzied Friday morning.

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