End of November I had the great chance to attend the UNESCO City of Design International Seminar 2016 in Seoul. The topic of the seminar was Upcycling Design and it took place at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Among  upcycling design experts Alvin Yip from Hong Kong and Yooseung Kim from Seoul and international upcycling designers, (which I will mention by name below) I gave a presentation about several upcycling design projects in Graz. Furthermore I gave an overview about how we can reduce waste by repairing and reusing things.

The following upcycling designers spoke about their projects and experiences in the field of upcycling: The founder of Woodward Throwbacks are a young couple from Detroit, who try to solve urban problems through upcycling. Mainly they are working with used wood from the abandoned houses in Detroit. Also from Detroit is a company called ThingThing. They are doing experimental work and will show their latest outcomes at the upcoming Saint-Etienne International Design Biennale 2017.

Tab Japan presented their project Mikketa, which is about upcycling wasted fabrics and threads.

Ki-woong Han from Ecostone Korea Inc. in Seoul showed us their developments about using waste stones as a key material for outdoor equipment like benches, fences and street lamps.

Here is more information about the Seoul, UNESCO City of Design International Seminar 2016.

We also talked about the Seoul Upcycling Plaza, which is in preparation. We exchanged information and experiences from our countries and organisations. I am looking forward seeing the operating Seoul Upcycling Plaza.

Special thanks to Hyowon Lee from the Seoul Design Foundation and Eberhard Schrempf from the Creative Industries Styria for the invitation to participate in the Upcycling Design Seminar.

Text: Sigrid Bürstmayr
Photography: SDP (1–4), Sigrid Bürstmayr (5–11)