December 24, 2007 07:48
A few days ago an unusual Christmas tree was set up next to the Hammering Man kinetic sculpture in front of Heungkook Building in Gwanghwamun, Seoul. Called Christmas Factory, the tree features clockwork snowflakes and a phalanx of steel robots arranged around it.
"There might be a factory that churns out Christmas somewhere in the world that nobody knows about," said designer Park Jin-woo, 34, as he fiddled with his fake Warhol-imprinted Louis Vuitton wallet.
Park is a young designer who works in Seoul and London, where he is known as Zinoo Park. With his witty and satirical take on art, he was named one of 100 top young designers by respected design magazine Frame.
Park graduated from Seoul National University's College of Arts and the Royal College of Art (RCA) in the U.K. He started working at Samsung Electronics in 2003, but quit two years later to become an independent designer so he could unleash his creative spirit.
For Park, design must have a sense of humor. His design credo calls for an unexpected touch that makes serious things humorous and humorous things serious. A flash of wit can be found in his best-selling work 5 Minute Candles, of which more than 30,000 packs were sold around the world. There's also dry humor in his Spaghetti Chandelier and Fake Bag.
Park goes by the nickname "Coca-Cola Boy", which was bestowed on him by famed designer Ron Arad, one of his instructors at RCA. The nickname comes from his obsession for all things Coca-Cola: he has created some 50 works using Coke bottles since 1996.
Park is also a model for the lead character in the KBS drama "Bad Love" played by actor Kwon Sang-woo. Park's Spaghetti Chandelier is hung at the studio where Kwon's character works, and he's also building a work that the character is making.
Park has formed a collective of young Korean artists called the Fantastic Artist Seoul Team (F.A.S.T.). "We aim to become an iconic culture group in Korea like the Droog Design group from the Netherlands and Italy's Memphis Group," Park said.
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