Korean Upcycle Design

Title Exhibition Korean Upcycle
Art&Design Frontier
Location Leipzig
Year 2019
Client Gwangmyeong
Upcycle Art Center
City of Gwangmyeong
Team Suzi Gang (director)
Lilly M. Bozzo-Costa (coordinator)

The exhibition is hosted by the city of Gwangmyeong and Gwanmeong Upcycle Art Center from South Korea.

17 Korean Upcycle Artists and 12 Winners of International Art & Design competition partecipate in this exhibition with 80 artworks. They show the various and unique Korean Upcycle Art and Design like reused electronic parts based on Hanbok, traditional korean costume. In addition, they prepare 4 upcycle seminars. Through this seminars, you can see how to create Korean upcycle art design artwork.


2ndB/Ji Eun JUNG
Tae Joong KIM
Woo Jin KIM
Byung Chul CHO
Jung Hyun HAN
Fori SIM
Guk Wha JANG
Sang Hyun JU
Jae Ho LEE
Dong Wook LIM
Sara JOO
Young Woon YOO
Do Young YOU
Seo Hyun KIM (Gold Prize)
Angelo Lussiana (Gold Prize)
Seong Hwan HYUN (Silver Prize)
Dong Su KANG (Silver Prize)
Jung A HYUN (Bronze Prize)
Hye Jung KO, Jong In LEE, Young Bin BYUN, Young Jin KIM (Bronze Prize)
Carlotta Di Cerbo (Bronze Prize)
Jin Woo JUNG (Winner Prize)
Hyun Ji YOO (Winner Prize)
Sa Duck PARK (Winner Prize)
Seung Ju LEE, Su In YONG (Winner Prize)
Eun Min LEE (Winner Prize)


ByungChul CHO
Fori SIM
JungHyun HAN
Guk Wha JANG
SangHyun JU
JiEun JUNG,Khan
TaeJoong KIM
WooJin KIM
DongWook LIM
Sara JOO
YoungWoon YOO
DoYoung YOU


Gwangmyeong City
Ministery of Culture, Sports and Tourism


Gwangmyeong Upcycle Art Center
Designer’s Open


COFICE Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange



Upcycling aus Korea: Soeben fand die Eröffnungszeremonie des Upcycling Art Center Gwangmyeong

www.instagram.com/Upcycling aus Korea: Soeben fand die Eröffnungszeremonie des Upcycling Art Center Gwangmyeong im Schillersaal statt.




한복원단재탄생 Instagram posts – Gramho.com

www.newsingm.co.kr/ A peek at upcycle art in Gwangmyeong


한복원단재탄생 Instagram posts – Gramho.com


Interview with Jnsook GANG Director OF Gwangmyeong Upcycle Artcenter, Gwangmyeong City

Q: why did you plan this event?

A: As the first upcycle art center in Korea, we are getting many brilliant upcycle contents and programs. So I would like to plan this event for expanding and introducing upcycle contents of Gwangmyeong upcycle art center to overseas market. For European people, we wanted not only to introduce unique attraction of upcycle wich has their own story, but also to suggest an alternative for the environmental problem. Besides I would like to show Korean modern artworks and their unique beauty of a sculpture as a new try of overseas exchange project. Until now, almost overseas exchange project showed only traditional contents in the world.

Q: Why did you involve the international competition in this event especially?

A: The competition makes people interest in upcycle art and design sustainably, find new upcycle artist and encourage artist to create new artworks. Also, it makes people understand environment and expand the concept of upcycle. However we don’t have any annual upcycle competition for representing South Korea. And there is no one in Asia. Therefore we would like to make annual event through this international competition. And through this, I want expand topic of environment, recycling and sustainability by & design and culture.

A: What is the result of this event?

First of all, the status of Korean upcycle art was imprinted in German and European’s head through this event. It is second time to visit Germany. We think German people are more interested in upcycle than South Korea and they show a favorable attitude to our upcycle artworks. Also they accept the concerns of the environment problem as daily life. To then, It is not a special event any more. So, we could see the different reaction from South Korea. Especially, I think unique material and novel idea of Korean upcycle artworks made the visitors deeply impressed with Korean upcycle culture.I hope that we have more chance to hold these event for expanding Korean upcycle to overseas market and exchanging upcycle culture between South Korean and overseas. For this, we would like to do as the driving force in South Korea. We really appreciate Lilly Bozzo-Costa, people of Designers’ Open and person who’s in charge of A&O Kunsthalle helped our events. Also thanks to Ministry of Culture, Sports and tourism and Korean international cultural exchange, we can hold this event in Germany.

Q: What do you think about Korean Upcycle art & design frontier?

A: I’ m very happy that Gwanmyeong city could participate in Desingers’ open 20.000 people visit, one of the biggest in Germany, with Korean upcycle contents. Also when many visitors of our exhibition and participants of our workshops was satisfied our events, I was very touched about that and my difficulty of preparing this events was disappeared at once. And I felt European people lavishly praised us more than Korean people. So, I thought we had to make effort in South Korea.

Q: what is next for you?

A: We would like to do overseas exhibition and marketing consistently. And we will make a foray into eco design field for promoting Korean upcycle industry and opening up overseas market.

Also, we would like to make Gwangmyeong upcycle Artcenter of Gwangmyeong city global brand and make upcycle culture spread into citizen. And we will make effort for our designer and artist can reach safely in European market, which is very friendly to upcycle and eco-friendly products. For this, we will run the eco-design academy and support for developing competitivenessof Korean uppcycle design.


Interview with Lilly M. Bozzo-Costa, Architect and Curator of International upcylce exhibition Echt Alt/Original Old

Q: How did you get in contact with Gwangmyeong Upcycle Art Center in 2017?

A: In the context of my trade fair and exhibition Echt Alt/Original Old, which I have been curating for four years, I always invite artists from a featured country. The idea with South Korea was a spontaneous one. A colleague of mine was flying to Seoul, so I asked him wether he could check out the upcycling –design scene there and contact young designers. I was extremely impressed that one of the world’s first upcycling designs center had been founded in South Korea.

Q: Could you give us specific information about last year’s Echt Alt exhibition?

A: I started the project Echt Alt/Original Old five years ago. It is an annual projekt deals with issues like sustainability, consumption and waste. Last year, we invited Gwanggmyeong upcycle art center of South Korea as guest country of honor, we introduced various artworks of Korean upcycle designer, artists and university students. Visitors paid tribute to the exhibition and high level of imagination and the often playful approaches to work.

Q: Please tell me your feeling about this year’ s event Korean Upcycle Art & Design Frontier

A: The exhibition Korean Upcycle Art & Design Frontier was the highlight of the Designers’ Open. The interesting speeches and workshops with the artists gave visitors an opportunity to gather a lot of insights and inspiration from South Korea.

South Korea has been dealing with the subject of waste and upcycling much longer than we have. The cooperation projects with schools and the successful start-up were a good feedback for the German visitors.

Germany and South Korea have a lot in common. Many South Korean companies have had operations in Germany for as long as 50 or 60 years. In Berlin, there is even a South Korean Culture Institute. The countries’ interest in each other has a long tradition. One can feel a certain affinity and high level of mutual interest. The exhibition was a confirmation of this. Thanks to this event, we are now moving in the right direction and will continue with this work.

Q: What is your opinion about the current state of upcycle art and design in Europe?

A: When I started the project Echt Alt/Original Old five years ago, the subject of upcycling was still very exotic. It was difficult to find good, interesting designers. Since then, everything has changed quickly. The reason for this is that the side effects of our human lifestyle has left its mark on the planet, particulary in recent decades. So, now there are many excellent designers and artist who think upcycle is important to the environment.

It is important that upcycling art and design be taken seriously. Policymakers must finance more requirements in the direction of implementation. Upcycling should be a normal part of the design world, not a special area idealists.

Q: What is your future plan with upcycle art and design in this field personally?

A: My great desire is to create an oeuvre. Everything or almost everything should be made from recycled materials. From the outside to the the interior an furniture, everything should be upcycled. And it should be of course cool, attractive and affordable.