If you happen to have been around the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in the last few weeks, you may have noticed an extremely unusual store/exhibition set up in the Design Lab. With flashing “Plz Don’t Buy It” sign and giant cat effigy encircled by speakers that ring out typical marketing phrases in various languages, it’s almost impossible to miss.
“Plz Don’t Buy It”, the second of such exhibitions held by the NoTag international e-commerce group in Korea’s DDP this summer, is very unique indeed. Like a cross between IKEA and Etsy by way of a boutique owned by Banksy, amazed me with not only the aesthetic appeal of their product range, but also the clever functionality of each product line’s design as well.
Jason Jang, the global marketing manager, said the group prided itself in its selection. Each product on display was created in Korea, by Korean designers, and they all had earned some international award or distinction to merit being on display here.
After looking around, and being encouraged to try out the various award-winning products, here are my top ten products you must check out before the exhibition closes on Sunday, July 12th:
1. PHOIBE Light-Reflecting Fabrics
This designer drapes all of their products in light-reflecting fabrics that, surprisingly, look really chic. Not to mention the high-quality fabric and stitching make them comfortable and luxurious. In the perfect blend of safety and style, their range of products are equally at home in a nightclub or on a night bike ride.
2. SALT PENGUIN Salt Checker
This cute little guy actually serves a really useful purpose. Similar to a thermometer, he just dips his peak into any broth, beverage, or blend and reads the salt content of the concoction for you. Clever and cute enough to warrant sticking to that low-sodium diet!
3. CHEMION Digitally Expressive Glasses
These glasses are the ultimate in ravewear, and they must be gaining in popularity. I saw no less then three pairs on at Heineken Stardium that night. Not only can you change the display with a click of a discrete button on the glasses, but you can customize your own messages to display via the accompanying smartphone app.
4. PULPET Tomo Cat Home
Do you love your cat? Do you really? If you’re a true cat-lover, you can’t live without a cathouse that looks like Bruce Wayne built it. And if you’re a cat-lover without the luxury of a cat, Pulpet has something for you as well: an assortment of cat-face clocks with patterns ranging from stripes and spots to the American flag.
5. QUANTUMBY Kitchenware
Don’t let the artistically grimy display fool you, they may look like paint-party relics, but the models for sale are sleek and ergonomic, not to mention magnetic! No more losing your utensils in drawers, this concept replaces both the need for drawers and drying racks while keeping fun appeal to your kitchen layout.
6. RABITO Beanbag Chair
The only thing better than beanbag chairs are bunny beanbag chairs. In staying with the theme of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza exhibition, everyone is free to sit on the beanbag chairs to watch videos or play with the papercraft. Even the exhibitions own employees were pounding away on their laptops while reclining in these plump cozy chair.
6. PLASTICFARM Fantasy Fish Tank
Plasticfarm had an array of items on display at DDP, but this one really caught my eye. The fish tank is given a 3D pop-out effect to make your aquarium more like an art piece of the house. All the parts of the product can be moved around and arranged to your liking.
7. SAKUN Streetwear
These guys have an eye for style and don’t hesitate to make even simple sanitation devices into a fashion statement. Boasting a wide array of unique glasses, masks, and hats, they were getting quite a lot of attention from the crowd for their product.
8. PAPERO BEAN Papercraft
These guys may sound familiar to lovers of papercraft. They have been featured in WIRED Magazine, at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as claiming a handful of international product design awards. Not a big fan of papercraft myself, I could help but be amazed at the level of detail that went into each element. The company puts health and safety of it’s customers and the environment first, so you will not need any scissors, knives, or glue to put these masterpieces together.
9. ONE CHILD Kids Bowl
Ingenuity always at the forefront of this exhibition, the One Child kids bowl doesn’t seem the least bit out of place. It’s a stunning piece of design work that gives the littlest one in the family some degree of autonomy by helping them scoop food onto their spoon without making a big mess in the kitchen.
10. DAILY LIFE LAB Rainy Pot
An adorable take on a potted plant that was an honorable mention for the Red Dot Design Award, the Rainy Pot uses famous landmarks to add fun detail to a simple flower pot. What’s more, if you pour water into the rain cloud, it will rain on the city below. Definitely for every parents and kindergarten teacher who wants to inspire their kids to love the beauty of nature.
But wait! It ends on Sunday, July 12th?! That’s this weekend!
Indeed it is, so you should hurry to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza and check it out! For those of you who want to go but haven’t the time, never fear! The ever-vigilant team at NoTag are holding a third exhibition with all new products and a secret garden addition catering towards couples and outdoors enthusiasts. The last exhibition will be held from July 16th to August 18th. Even during the last exhibition, products and designs will be swapped around, so visit more than once if you enjoy it!
Something like this has never been done before in Korea and they are getting overwhelmingly positive responses. The whole concept is to try before you buy and an interactive atmosphere is key. Customers even leave tags on each product they bought telling other customers why they did so!
For any further product questions, contact Jason Jang at email@example.com