By President Kim Hyung-dae, Reporter Shin Su-hyun
Ambassador and Mrs. Federico Failia in Seoul hosted a reception at the residence in Hannam-dong, Seoul on Dec. 10, 2019 on the occasion of presentation of decorations to Chairperson Kyung Ran Choi of the Seoul Design Foundation, concurrently professor at the Kookmin University in Seoul. She was honored with the Ordine della Stella Italiana (OSI) and also with the honorable title of an Italian Republic Knighthood (IRK). She was cited for her invaluable contribution to the promotion of exchange of design and culture.
At the meeting, Ambassador Federico Failla of Italy in Seoul said, “The government of Italy has decided to officially honor Professor Kyung Ran Cho with the decorations for contributions to the promotion exchange between Italy and Korea since 1994.”
Here are remarks made by Prof. Cho in response to the honor bestowed upon her from the government Italy:
Good evening, ladies and gentleman, I am Kyung Ran Choi. Thank you all for coming to the event this evening.
First of all, I would like to thank the Italian ambassador, Mr. Federico Failla and the embassy staffs for making this wonderful event this evening.
In 1994, I first met an Italian in Seoul. He was Alessandro Mendini of my age today, in his mid-50s. At that time, some Koreans said that they invited an ‘Old Designer.’ Since then, he has been a world-renowned designer with a young and innovative design for 25 years, until the last moment of his life in February this year.
Luckily for me, for the first time, I was able to meet the leaders of the Italian design community and see and experience the whole process from design to people’s life.
In fact, It was the founder of Hanssem's Cho Chang-Gul, who invited him, and I took over the role of the first Mandini Korea project.
I have not been able to celebrate the wedding anniversary which is April 12th, as I have been attending the Milan International Furniture Fair every year since 1993. This is grateful and sorry for my life partner professor Junho Lee for 30 years.
The 30 years is a period of exchange that was enough to understand where the strength and sustained growth of Italian design centered around Milano.
They respected industrial designers, and the creative thinking came from studios of educational institutions, practical industrial education, and relevant museum exhibitions and media promotions. They all together have ensured sustainable growth through a cyclical system.
I have done my job by focusing fully on my experiences and abilities. Lastly, it now led to the role of CEO of Seoul Design Foundation.
In Italy, in order to announce the Gwangju Design Biennale, I have been trying to promote Korean designers through international exhibitions and invitations from international designers.
In Korea, I collaborated with Italian designers through a training workshops and the World Design Policy Forum.
My son was five when I first visited Italy and he is now approaching 30. Today's honor may have been the result of so frequent flights to Italy.
The similarities between Korea and Italy have many cultural advantages, and I firmly believe that they will make the friendship of both countries' design culture a lasting growth relationship.
Now, I am sorry that I can't introduce everyone who really made this honor possible today. But above all, I would like to mention the researchers and students of the Oriental Culture Design Center at Kookmin University, who have been doing so many activities together with me, I believe it's a medal that I receive with many people including them.
I also express my appreciation and respect for domestic and foreign design oriented companies and related organizations that have supported all of these activities.