Seoul Mayor highlights 'Dongdaemun Design Plaza' as must-visit landmark for tourists

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 23, 2024, 21:40 Updated : April 26, 2024, 19:04
Courtesy of Hoang Phuong Ly
[Photographed by Hoang Phuong Ly =]

SEOUL, March 23 (AJU PRESS) -- Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon highlighted the "Dongdaemun Design Plaza" as a must-visit landmark for tourists during his visit to the capital city's iconic venue to celebrate its 10th birthday. The mayor expressed pride in the plaza's transformation into a destination beloved by both Seoulites and foreign visitors. Accompanied by Seoulites, he explored the plaza's art hall and posed for photos at a special photo zone.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is Seoul's prominent landmark located near the city’s central area. The gigantic building boasts a futuristic exterior, composed of curved, elongated shapes. The structures were designed by Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi-British architect, designer, and artist renowned for her significant contributions to the global architecture scene. In 2015, the New York Times listed DDP as one of the "52 places to go" worldwide.  
Courtesy of Hoang Phuong Ly
[Photographed by Hoang Phuong Ly]

"DDP has become a beloved facility for Seoulites and a must-visit destination for tourists exploring Seoul. It has indeed evolved into the city's landmark. I'm really proud of it," Mayor Oh said on Saturday at the end of the special tour with visitors. Oh added that he desires even greater progress ahead, considering its iconic status in shaping Seoul as a city or design.

On the first day of the 10th-anniversary festival, some foreign visitors expressed astonishment at the Seoul design landmark's architecture. "Given the circumstances of the surroundings in the city, it's kind of amazing how it feels almost like a living being, resembling an animal or a human. The shapes are so fluid," German traveler Marcus Schmickler told Aju Korea Daily.

"I will definitely introduce my Uzbekistani friends to DDP if they come to Seoul," said Tokhir Kuziboyev, a Uzbekistani university student. Kuziboyev's Vietnamese girlfriend, Bui Hai Anh, mentioned that she frequently visits DDP because numerous events there are easily accessible to everyone and are free of charge.
Courtesy of Hoang Phuong Ly
[Photographed by Hoang Phuong Ly]

As part of Seoul City's four-day festival, which commenced on March 23, the tour program aims to engage visitors through various photo zones and special tours, offering access to hidden areas typically closed to the public. During the event, participants will be led by curators to uncover hidden spots. In addition to a special red carpet runway zone in the main corridor known as the "Cave Stairs," DDP also prepared other special photo zones featuring mega-sized objects. Huge sculptures of cakes, spoons, and plates are set up as playful selfie photo zones for young visitors.

The Seoul Design Foundation is giving out digital gifts for selected visitors to DDP's website. One thousand people will receive limited edition non-fungible tokens (NFTs), created by popular South Korean designers. An NFT is a digital token registered to an unhackable blockchain network. Each token possesses a distinct authentication code representing either digital content or tangible items that truly exist. 

The plaza, opened on March 21, 2014, has emerged as the primary venue for both indoor and outdoor exhibitions, hosting a variety of seasonal festivals and the annual end-of-the-year countdown show. It was also used to host fashion shows and photoshoot events featuring K-pop artists.
Courtesy of Seoul Design Foundation
[Courtesy of Seoul Design Foundation]

DDP occupies the space once held by Seoul's Dongdaemun Stadium, a renowned sports arena built in 1925. As part of Seoul City's renovation project in 2007, the stadium was demolished to pave the way for the development of a public area capable of serving as both a park and an exhibition center. In 2023, more than 13 million people visited DDP even though South Korea had just opened up its borders after a three-year-long lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
[Photographed by Hoang Phuong Ly]
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