A group of UK designers recently took part in residencies in South Korea, creating a series of design commissions which are now in use at a newly-established 'village cafe' in Gongju.
In an age of over consumption and dwindling natural resources, designers in the UK are questioning their role and their relationship to society. There is an increasing emphasis on creative use and the preservation of resources, rather than an urge to create the new. Happiness for Daily Life represents this new sensibility.
The village café/shop is central to everyday life in rural towns and villages across the UK; in Happiness for Daily Life we created a village café as a metaphor for a re-imagining of the process of design production and the infrastructure of distribution and consumption. It presents a different understanding of resources, utilising historical Korean craft techniques alongside contemporary design to create a vibrant and dynamic café environment.
Four UK designers undertook residencies at the National University of Cultural Heritage (NUCH), during April and May 2010, to create a series of design commissions. Each of the designers has responded to their surroundings in Buyeo and Gongju in ways that involve the use, repair or representation of local resources. This result will engage new audiences and participants in this methodology of resourceful design. The Happiness for Daily Life café presents a distinctive quality of place, a design which is truly unique to Gongju.
Watch a video about the Happiness for Daily Life project on Vimeo
Furniture designer Michael Marriott created the café setting for Happiness for Daily Life and conceived the design and creation of the large central table. The surface of the table is formed of slats created by students who used their traditional craft skills in this new context of a contemporary design piece. Acclaimed designer Michael is known for considering everyday objects and materials with fresh eyes, and for celebrating the beauty of simple production techniques whether hand or mass manufactured.
View Michael Marriott's Happiness for Daily Life photos on Flickr here
Jewellery designer Linda Brothwell transforms her process into public art. She uses traditional techniques to repair everyday objects within the public realm including repairing damaged trees with golden poultices and the repair of benches around Lisbon using the traditional Portuguese technique of wood inlay. At NUCH Linda worked with the ceramics department to create ceramic tableware that is showcased in the café.
Furniture designer Fabien Cappello is interested in the potential of using local manufacturing capacity as way of creating social infrastructure and as a material resource. Previously he worked with local manufacturers to map the available production resources in the London borough of Barking, resulting in a collection of library furniture and seating. In the neighbourhood of Odivelas in Lisbon he surveyed and mapped local production resources. This map was manifested on a set of ceramic jugs and drinking vessels which he made with a local ceramicist. For the café Fabien has worked with NUCH stone and wood specialists to create a collection of outdoor furniture.
View Fabien Cappello's Happiness for Daily Life photos on Flickr here
Graphic designer Anthony Burrill uses text in his work from a variety of sources, often employing found text – something he overhears, reads, or half remembers. Anthony has created the graphics for Happiness for Daily Life inspired by Korean typography and pattern. Anthony has also worked with NUCH’s textile department to create a textile commission bringing together his vibrant use of pattern and the influence of traditional Korean textiles and painting.
Above right: Close-up of the main table at the Happiness for Daily Life cafe in Gongju City, designed by Michael Marriott. Photo by Michael Marriott.
Above left: Detail of the Happiness for Daily Life stools, designed by Fabien Cappello. Photo by Fabien Cappello.
Below left: Locals at the Happiness for Daily Life cafe. Photo by Michael Marriott.
Happiness for Daily Life is co-curated by Clare Cumberlidge & Ellie Smith
Project Manager –Yoonjoe Park
Exhibition Graphics – Anthony Burrill
Exhibition Structure – Michael Marriott