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Korean architects’ ‘The Floating Island’ acclaimed at Bruges Triennial

Korean architects’ ‘The Floating Island’ acclaimed at Bruges Triennial

Posted May. 11, 2018 07:36,   

Updated May. 11, 2018 07:36


“We are happy to be invited to such an important event, but even more delighted to have great response from people,” said CEOs Lee Seo-jeong (39) and Gwak Sang-jun (38) of OBBA, the only Asian team invited to the Bruges Triennial that opened on last Saturday (local time) in Belgium.

Known as “Venice of Northern Europe,” as well as its beautiful canals that run across the city, Bruges holds the Contemporary Art and Architecture Triennial every three years. Held under the theme of ‘“Liquid City,” the event will be held for four months until Sept.16 and be attended by 15 teams from nine countries including the United States, Spain, Germany and Poland.

OBBA installed “The Floating Island,” an artificial structure on the canals in the northern region of downtown Bruges. The structure guides visitors to a height equal to the canal’s water surface, so that visitors can feel as if they are walking across the water blending in with the scenery. Visitors can also swing on ropes and lie on hammocks, resting, playing and walking. The subtitle of the work was named “Beyond Boundaries.”

“We put up a curved artificial structure on the canals, which served as a channel for trade in the past, removing the boundaries and creating a space where people can enjoy. We tried to create a new boundary among people, going beyond physical boundaries,” said Lee, who was interviewed at the Korean Cultural Center in Bruges on Wednesday. OBBA has become well-known in the city.

OBBA, who also won the Young Architect’s Award by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2014, plans to continue to work on creative public projects. “We want to create a whole new playground concept that will replace the stereotypical slide and see-saw,” said Gwak.

Jung-Min Dong ditto@donga.com