During the process of the Seoullo 7017 project, VJO got to know something historically important that we cannot miss out. It is about great marathoners of Korea: the late Son Kee-Chung and the late Nam Seung-Ryong, the first two Olympic medalists in the Korean history who won the gold medal and the bronze medal respectively in the marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Son & Nam project
The east side of Seoullo 7017 is one of the busiest areas in the city with a great number of floating population: there are Seoul Station, Sungnyemun Gate, Namdaemun Market and Namsan Mountain, whereas the . They are all the places citizens and tourists alike visit the most. Although there are Yakhyun Catholic Church, National Theater Company of Korea and Son Kee Chung Sports Park in the west side, there are not many places people intends to visit with a certain purpose. All these places should be more closely connected because main purpose of Seoullo 7017 is connections of the city.
VJO started to pay a special attention to the Son Kee Chung Sports Park as a main attraction to the west ends of Seoullo 7017. It realized that the late Son’s value as a marathoner is still great enough, however it has not been revealed properly yet. The Park is there, however few people know where the Park is and people seldom visit.
In the Park, there is a century-old beautiful building that used to be a school (Yangchung High School) Son had attended and had been trained as a marathoner. Now, this is used as his memorial hall. If you take a look inside it, you may feel it is a bit ambiguous. The target is not clear and his Olympic assets are displayed without meanings. Regardless of paying a tribute to his great legacy, other old buildings of school are now used as a reading room for students and a fitness center for local residents. There are fields for football, futsal, and tennis, but no running tracks.
Another valuable thing VJO found out during the process is another great marathoner Nam Seung-Ryong. He was also a Berlin Olympic medalist with Son. Son won the gold medal and Nam won the bronze medal in the name of Japan. We call the late Son a “national hero” and remember him, however the late Nam was often called a “misfortune No. 2” and was forgotten. The two were born in the same year, went to the same school, and went to Berlin together as marathoners. They all gave us an important legacy that helped us overcome historic wounds. They taught us what sports is and what teamwork is. The Berlin Olympics was a painful event to Germany and also to Korea. But, it is an important history with full of stories we all have to remember. If the memorial hall contains all these meanings, it would be a more valuable place to all.
The First Global Celebrity
1936 Berlin Olympic
VJO thinks the Park should be changed into something more valuable to the late two heros. It is also needed to satisfy the final goal of Seoullo 7017.
VJO has embarked on the Park’s renewal project with the Seoul Metropolitan Government:
VJO develops a strong, symbolic branding of the late Son and Nam, through which their all-time value is used in a design way. Design factors will be applied when exhibition contents are re-arranged and how his historic meanings are delivered to kids, teenagers, citizens, tourists and international community.
Since VJO hopes that it would be a project that sheds new light on important heroes of Korea, and also it would be a project that delivers a message that we can get recognized by the society by working together instead of seeking for the first, and a project that delivers a message especially to young generations.
VJO and the Seoul Metropolitan Government recruit ten young creators who have not sufficient work experience, but have full of passion. With the direction of Joon Oh, these 10 creators are working hard in discovering a great historic legacy Son and Nam had left behind, and developing better design communication solutions to represent the message the two great marathoners gave us with a tagline of “the Newly Defined Success”.