Many of us sit in front of desks the majority of our lives, whether we work at home or in the office or spend most of the day in school. Something that we see every day for hours on end is bound to have an impact on our minds in the long run. That’s why we put pieces of decoration, beautiful accessories, and delightful toys on our desks to inspire us or even to distract us once in a while. Sometimes, however, we also opt for products with cleaner and more minimal designs that evoke feelings of peace or mental clarity. Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t have something that is both minimal yet playful, like this set of desk accessories and trinkets that take inspiration from traditional Korean games that children play.
Designer: Jiung Yun, Siwook Lee, Jihyun Hong, Junsu Lee
Inspiration can come from many things and take many forms. Some are more direct, like flower-shaped wall clocks or UFO-shaped lamps, while others require some imagination to make the connections. These hidden details only make these items more interesting and more valuable, especially if their themes speak to the owner’s interests and tastes. Madang, for example, is a collection of desk accessories that take inspiration from Korea’s forgotten traditional games, bringing an element of fun to some serious productivity tools.
Some of the associations are almost direct, like Juldaligi, a wrist-stretching tool that is like a miniature form of a traditional Korean tug of war. A multipurpose tray’s dividers and containers make it look like a Sabang chigi playground that children would use in yards. A magnetic clip holder that looks both like a UFO and a hat is a nod to the Jeonlip hats used in a whimsical game of Sangmodoligi. And what better way to embody a see-saw-like game than with a clip that mimics that movement.
There are also some items that take some license in the reinterpretation of those games. A pen holder, for example, tries to call to mind arrows that are put inside a barrel, while the Gang Gang Sulae desk timer is supposed to represent a game where people hold hands in a circle. One of the oddest ones is the incense holder that adds a swinging ball just to make an association with another traditional game that revolves around swings.
Whether intentional or unintentional, the white and orange motif of the Madang set brings another tie to Korean culture. Almost like different forms of soft-boiled eggs, these desk accessories bring to mind some popular Korean dishes, especially those that use egg as a core ingredient. Whether it’s through their shapes or through their colors, the Madang collection tries to give a bit of life to your desk without being overbearing or extravagant. Its homage to almost forgotten games also tries to remind us to have some fun in our lives before it becomes too late to enjoy it.