Jaenah Jung

Department: Contextual Design

After the Reconciliation

My design proposal is an attempt to apply
communist principles to the capitalist world
by developing a new design language.

On 17 December 2011, North Korea leader
Kim jong il died of a heart attack. This
means the possibility of the unification of
Korea is getting higher. North Korea is one
of five remaining communist countries in
the world, and operates under very different
political and economic rules.

As a South Korean, I’ve been constantly
educated in the virtues of capitalism against
communism, so I cannot avoid considering
these two different systems.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union,
capitalism seemed to have triumphed over
all other political systems. However, the
German reunification has shown, after
20 years that unification by a one-sided
ideology involved many mistakes. Moreover,
we are now observing negative aspects of
capitalism, related to materialist concepts
such as social and economic inequality, high
unemployment, destruction of local markets,
overly standardizing products etc.

I believe that communism still has valuable
points. Not just for the two Korean
countries, but for the wider capitalist world.
By researching North Korea, I discovered
communist principles, and how they can be
complementary to the faults of capitalism. I
tried to apply these values, such as equality,
mass, repetition, difference and sameness,
to design furniture. I’ve used the method
of presentation of IKEA, one of most
globalized companies, with a catalogue and
a showroom.

Basically, the two different systems,
capitalism and communism, have very
different opinions on materials which are
deeply related with design. I hypothesized
that design could integrate both ideologies.
The designs consisting of communistic and
capitalist elements will provide opportunities
to reconcile the two Korean countries and
create a common area. But more than
that: the amalgamation of communism and
capitalism may lead us to reconsider our
present capitalist product world.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Joost Govers