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Happiness for Daily Life

The opening of the Happiness for Daily Life cafe. Photo by Igor Tyuterev

The opening of the Happiness for Daily Life cafe. Photo by Igor Tyuterev

10 May 2010
by Ellie Smith

Happiness for Daily Life saw a group of UK designers travel to South Korea to participate in  residencies resulting in series of design commissions which are now in use at a newly-established 'village cafe' in Gongju city.

The village café/shop is central to everyday life in rural towns and villages across the UK; in Happiness for Daily Life we created a village café as a metaphor for a re-imagining of the process of design production and the infrastructure of distribution and consumption. It presents a different understanding of resources, utilising historical Korean craft techniques alongside contemporary design to create a vibrant and dynamic café environment.

The designers undertook residencies at the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage (KNUCH), during April and May 2010 and each responded to their surroundings in Buyeo and Gongju in ways that involve the use, repair or representation of local resources. The Happiness for Daily Life café presents a distinctive quality of place, a design which is truly unique to Gongju.

Furniture designer Michael Marriott created the café setting for Happiness for Daily Life and conceived the design and creation of the large central table. The surface of the table is formed of slats created by students who used their traditional craft skills in this new context of a contemporary design piece. Read Michael's blog.

Jewellery designer Linda Brothwell transforms her process into public art. At NUCH Linda worked with the ceramics department to create ceramic tableware that is showcased in the café.

For the café, furniture designer Fabien Cappello has worked with KNUCH stone and wood specialists to create a collection of outdoor furniture.

Graphic designer Anthony Burrill created the graphics for Happiness for Daily Life inspired by Korean typography and pattern. Anthony has also worked with KNUCH’s textile department to create a textile commission bringing together his vibrant use of pattern and the influence of traditional Korean textiles and painting.

The project was curated by Clare Cumberlidge and Ellie Smith. Read Clare's blog.