Every two years, the International Design Alliance (IDA) holds an international competition to select a city and designates it as World Design Capital (WDC) for one year. Seoul was named WDC for 2010 in 2007 and since then has held two Design Olympiads in preparation for the 2010 event.
The theme of the Seoul Design Olympiad 2009, held from 9-29 October was i Design - with a focus on all that is sustainable, experiential and participatory. Given the scale of the event, the setting for the international conferences, exhibitions, competitions and design fair held during the 21days of the Olympiad, was the Jamsil Sports Complex, built for the 1988 Summer Olympics.
In keeping with the ambition of the Olympiad, the Helen Hamlyn Centre was invited to run a 48 Hour Inclusive Design Challenge. It was the largest to date and involved 65 designers from 10 countries in Europe, Asia and Australasia, who were led by eight designers from UK and Norway, all of them experienced in the practice of inclusive design.
Each team was paired with older and disabled Seoul citizens and were asked to respond to a brief that was centred on leisure, pleasure and social interaction.
The range of responses was broad from inclusive theatre seating and reconfigured green spaces to a sensory-memory sharing device, to a campaign of vertical gardens to motivate the 'unmotivatable' which won the Best Presentation prize.
The overall winner was Team A led by Cian Plumbe of Studiohead for their innovative karaoke game for the majority of the singing population who are tone deaf.