November 4, 2013 - Gwangju Design Biennale - The 5th biennale closes
November 4, 2013

The 5th biennale closes

Kengo Kuma, Nangchang Nangchang, 2013. Bamboo installation. Courtesy of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

Anything, Something: 5th Gwangju Design Biennale 
September 6–November 3, 2013

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation
111 Biennale-ro, Buk-gu
Gwangju, Republic of Korea, 500-845

T +82 (0) 62 608 4114
F +82 (0) 62 608 4219

The 5th Gwangju Design Biennale closed its doors yesterday. The biennale included the participation of 328 designers and design firms from 24 countries, about 600 works exhibited in the Gwangju Biennale Hall and at Uijae Museum. With a total number of over 215,000 visitors, this year’s biennale reaffirmed its standing as a premier event in design aesthetics and an international get-together of practitioners in the design industry as a whole.

With the theme Anything, Something, the Biennale was organized into five sections: a thematic exhibition, a main exhibition, two special exhibitions and an international design workshop. The Gwangju Design Biennale’s keen awareness in the danger of a blockbuster exhibition relegated into a subservient position of aiding the commodification and commercialization has found its voice in this year’s edition. Through a series of public projects such as the Rice Distribution Projects, Garden Design and Citizen Participatory Programs, the Biennale successfully brought in the ethical and social realm into the industry-oriented field of design and has garnered high acclaim from both the domestic and foreign design community in that regard.

Underlining the biennale’s direction to interject into the design-to-production process a variety of citizen participatory projects, “The 59 days of the 2013 Gwangju Design Biennale were especially precious as the viewers were invited to socialize, enjoy and complete the Biennale themselves,” stated the Gwangju Biennale Foundation President Yongwoo Lee.

Of special note is the Rice Distribution Project that embodied the spirit of sharing—of history, culture and sense of togetherness as well as the rice itself, an indispensable sustenance in Asian cultures—incorporated into a contemporary design exhibition. Throughout 59 days, 60,000 packages of organically grown local specialty rice were distributed to the visitors. It was a discourse and manifestation of the Biennale’s take on the social role of design that facilitates the development of a product serving as a medium to enrich human life above and beyond being a mere instrument.

The International Academic Events, a collateral program to the 2013 Gwangju Design Biennale, were held on September 6 and 13. Talks given by renowned guest speakers Deyan Sudjic, Brandon Gien, Kengo Kuma and Benjamin Rollins Caldwell drew a big crowd, among whom the presence of local design students participated in the International Desgin Workshop earlier in Damyang under the RCA (Royal College of Art) tutelage were most notable.

The Gwangju Desgin Biennale wishes to thank all of the curators, participating designers, collectors or institutions who loaned works, writers, photographers and installation technicians who helped make this Biennale a success. The Opening of the Gwangju Folly II, an art and architecture project of Gwangju Biennale Foundation, under director Nikolaus Hirsch, will take place on November 10 and 11 and will coincide with an international conference and the launch of the new publication Folly.

The 2014 Gwangju Biennale, under director Jessica Morgan, will run from September 5 to November 9, 2014.

For further inquiries, please contact:
International Relations and Communications Manager
Public Relations Department / Jisu Cook
T +82 (0) 62 608 4223 / F +82 (0) 62 608 4229 / jisu.cook [​at​]

Gwangju Design Biennale
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