Finalised Brief

Self-Set Brief: Korean Dining 

Aims and Objectives

The general aim is to create a textile based collection and products for a contract market dinning setting. The designs and collection will be heavily influenced by my recent trip to South Korea and the culture I encountered. I plan to further explore and document traditional Korean dining settings and etiquette and apply these to a contemporary and western setting.

To help develop and explore the theme I will collate my photographs and produce a body of drawings, in my own iIllustrative style. The majority of my drawings will be of Korean architecture and the patterns within it. These drawings will then be used to creatively develop one-off textile pieces and a collection of designs. The processes that will be explored are hand screen-printing and Lino printing, with a possibility of hand embroidery if found appropriate. The main substrate will be suitable for interior fabrics, however the setting of a contract market dining allows scope for using substrates such as wood.

I will study and review trend forecast website ‘WGSN’ to become informed on Autumn/Winter 2018. I will also read relevant journals on interiors in commercial spaces and Korean culture. To summarise all relevant aspects of the concept I will develop visually inspiring mood boards.

The final outcome will be a range of designs for products that could consist of wall hangings, screens, floor cushions, table tops and associated table ware. This complementary collection, this will bring a Korean dining experience to a western restaurant. The collection will complement the pieces and bring in a Korean aesthetic. The final collection of design will be demonstrated in: some alternative colour ways, co-ordinating designs and accurately repeating designs. Selected designs will be displayed on appropriate products with CAD visuals.

Market Area 

The designs will be made for the western contract market, the target market will be young professionals, who are culturally aware and want to experience new things. The main concept of the collection is to bring traditional Korean dining to a western market. Furthermore, by aiming it at the ‘young professional’ market it will allow for a contemporary twist on the traditions and aesthetic. The textile pieces will be for the higher end market, and a larger commercial setting, will allow for bolder prints and designs. I envision, the particular restaurant could be a stand alone boutique eatery in an urban city area similar to Shoreditch and Brick Lane, London.

I found inspiration initially from ‘Sketch.London’ which is a high end restaurant with different themed rooms, designed by different artists. I was inspired by the idea of having an entire room inspired by a single theme, that pushes the boundaries of traditional dining decor.

In terms of processes, I found the textile artist Harriet Popham particularly inspiring as she develops her illustrations directly into the patterns. As I have developed my own illustrative style throughout my degree, I would like it to be present in the designs. I also thought her use of bold colour is very relevant to this project.

Research Base

I will be researching into South Korean architecture and history and will produce a wide range of primary research in the form of drawings and photographs. I documented the cultural experiences I had while visiting South Korea and will further develop on these ideals. Two key influences of the collection will be the traditions of dining on the floor and dining in large group. I will further research into the benefits of dining in groups to further concrete these ideals in a western culture.

Traditionally in South Korea, people dine daily in large groups with either friends or family, and rarely eat at home. They eat from a lot of shared dishes in the middle of the table as Koreans believe that eating from the same bowl forms stronger relationships. My experience in South  Korea, while dining, is that the table was completely covered in side dishes, drinks and bowls. I would like to emulate this sense of closeness and sharing of goods in my collection. Unlike other Asian cultures, South Koreans tend to eat with stainless steel chopsticks and I feel this substrate could be used to portray this tradition. The South Koreans also mainly decorate their interiors with pine wood furniture. The furniture would be of a simple design as South Koreans value nature and natural materials. Therefore, wood is emphasised as being one of the most beautiful aspect of the decor.

The tradition of dining on the floor is due to the ancient Korean heating system; ‘Ondol’. The heating system was created due to the extreme weather conditions in Korea and the necessity to easily and effectively heat and cool a Hanok (traditional Korean housing).  The heating system is the original underfloor heating. The floor is heated by smoke from beneath. There is a well documented Korean Health belief that warm feet and a cool head is the key to good health. I found that sitting on the ground to eat created a real community feel.

These traditions will be further researched and appropriate final outcomes such as floor cushions will be developed. The combination of ‘east meets west’ will be emphasised in the print design and the product. My collection will be relevant to the western market by referencing WGSN’s trend forecasting facilities. I will tailor the collection to the trend “Worldhood” for Autumn/Winter 18. Fundamentally, the trend is about collaborating cultures but also will allow the option to combine contemporary colours with the bright and bold colours found on traditional South Korean architecture.

The Brief

This brief will be to create a South Korean dining experience, with all its traditions, in a contemporary western setting. The collection will be aimed at the higher market contract market for a dining setting. The setting will be aimed at the ‘young professional’ market aged 25-35 years old. They will be well travelled and interested in experiencing other cultures.

The collection will draw inspiration from Korean architecture but will have a contemporary twist on the patterns and colours. The possible products could be: floor cushions, bench cushions, screens, table tops etc. The use of appropriate interior fabric will remain throughout with the possibility of extra substrates such as wood. There will be an emphasis on artisan, hand-crafted textiles, the hand processes of screen-printing and Lino cutting will be used to emulate this.

My personal experiences and research into the traditions of South Korean dining will be the basis of the work and collection. The importance of group dining and the atmosphere this creates will be the driving force of the collection and will be apparent throughout. The project will be ‘east meets west’, not just in aesthetic but in purpose and tradition.


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