At some point in my life, I plan to travel the world and learn about modern art and design in every culture, perhaps combining that with some of my philanthropic endeavors. But until then, I can indulge for more than a few hours at a time at the generous exhibits in the U.S. Some of my favorites occur at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Getty museum in Los Angeles. And then there's the ever-so-popular and my oh-so-favorite MoMA, which has one of the best stores if you're a design lover.
So I am thrilled to find this new exclusive collection at MoMAstore which takes me back to my roots. Seoul is a MoMA-exclusive product collection highlighting lifestyle products from South Korea. And not only are some of these products cuter than Hello Kitty, they also make a difference. Here are some of my favorites:
I.dear Speakers (by Sang-bum Kim, 2007) $36 This tiny wood cube-shaped speakers (1.25" x .75" x 1") produce rich sound, includes a USB connector for charging and a standard jack to connect to audio sources. Your iPod would be so lucky to have this as a companion. It's also available in faux-marble.
Wooden Blocks Rattle Set (by Jae Keun Song, 2008) $18 This wooden blocks rattle set is made from natural wood finished with linseed oil, each featuring different funny faces and distinctive sounds. The rattles are each made from a different type of wood, are naturally safe and good for the environment.
Recycled Cloth Gorilla Plush (by Mearry Design Team, 2007) $28 Made from cleaned, recycled cloth and stuffed with 100% cotton material, these lovable stuffed animals are meant to resemble the Highland Mountain Gorilla, an endangered species. Each doll is sewn by hand and benefits economically disadvantaged single mothers living in South Korea.
Street Banner Bag (by Dong Hwan Kim, 2007) $6-15 Made entirely of materials gathered from collecting used street banners in Korea, these stylish bags doubly benefit the planet and are ideal for carrying groceries and other items. Now why would you continue to use those unsightly and environmentally tragic plastic bags?
Recycled Denim Tote (by Mearry Design Team, 2007) $95 Each of these tote bags is made from repurposed denim that is donated to Beautiful Store, a non-profit organization working to create a culture of sharing and recycling throughout South Korea. Made out of either black or blue denim with leather handles, each bag also features an interior pocket fashioned out of the original jean's front pocket.
Recycled Newsprint Pencils (by Hyunjung Park, 2007) $5 The case and five pencils in this set are all made from recycled newspaper and printed with soy-based ink.
" It is often said that in Korea there is no such word as "philanthropy" and that there is no tradition of donation like the that in the US and other western countries. However a tradition of philanthropy unique to Korean society has been successfully maintained over the years throughout turbulent social changes. The level of philanthropy in a country is considered an important standard of measuring the level of its culture." The Beautiful Foundation