[Herald Design Forum 2020] Artists stress sustainable design for innovation

By Ahn Sung-mi
  • Published : Oct 22, 2020 - 19:36
  • Updated : Oct 22, 2020 - 20:23

Tomas Saraceno, an Argentinian contemporary artist, speaks during the Herald Design Forum held at Paradise City in Incheon on Thursday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Tomas Saraceno, an Argentinian contemporary artist who is behind the launch of a fuel-free air balloon, stressed sustainability during a Q&A session at the Herald Design Forum on Thursday.

Saraceno launched a project, titled “Fly with Aerocene Pacha,” an air balloon powered only by the sun and air, forgoing helium or fossil fuels, as a way of exploring environmentally friendly flight. The project was exhibited as part of “Connect BTS,” a global public art project initiated by the K-pop group BTS.

Coming up with innovative ways to fly was critical for Saraceno, because conventional aircraft, which run on petroleum, have a devastating impact on the earth. 

“We have to show different ways we can fly,” he said. 

The artist emphasized that humans are responsible for bringing sustainability to what he calls the “mother earth.” 

“I have never seen a mother hurting her son and daughter,” said Saraceno, underlining that the same relationship needs to be translated into how human treats the earth. 

Another speaker at the forum, Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director at the Serpentine Galleries in London, emphasized the importance of collaboration during the session. Obrist was also behind the “Connect BTS, one of whose exhibition was held at the Serpentine. 

“Ideally one plus one is better than two,” he said, emphasizing that it is through collaboration that connects different people together that creates better storytelling. 

“We have a special opportunity to fully touch each other together through social media -- the value of collaboration.” 

He also emphasized the importance of living in communion with the environment. 

When Israeli industrial designer Ron Arad was asked what was the secret behind his creativity, he said “boredom.” 

A bicycle without wheels and a bent ping-pong table are some of the innovative works that he has put out. 

“It’s no secret,” he told the audience. “To me, boredom is the mother of creativity. It’s all about curiosity, thinking what would happen if we do this and what would happen if we don’t do this. You have to be curious enough to try and that is how everything starts.”

He also offered advice to young designers in South Korea by saying “don’t listen to advice,” which he clarified later as listening only to useful advice. 

“The thing is, people are good at what they are interested in and better at,” he said. “You can use advice when its useful to you and you don’t have to listen to advice you don’t want to hear.” 

He added that, when he was teaching at the Royal College of Arts, he never let students use the word “should,” such as saying “you should do this or you should not do this.”

“I don’t like manifestos,” he said. 

Under the slogan “Another 10 Years,” the annual Herald Design Forum brought together prominent designers, architects, artists, curators and directors. The event was held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 1,400 participants livestreaming the sessions. 

By Ahn Sung-mi (