Arte Museum, Wave

Arte Museum, Creating New Experience Using Technology
During the Victoria Age, the advent of railways allowed so many people to view oceans for the first time. Now, in 2020, the Arte Museum, built by d’strict in Jeju as an immersive art exhibition hall, will bring you auroras of the Polar Regions. This is the story about beauty made possible by technology.
People viewing films for the very first time in the 1900s couldn’t tell the difference between reality and cinema. When a steam locomotive came toward the screen at a tilted angle, members of the audience would scream and hide from danger. It felt to them as though the train was going to run right through the screen.
In April 2020, people standing in front of the COEX building in Seoul wore the same expressions as those first-time filmgoers. They were watching in awe as the wave formed inside the huge water tank in front of them. And in September, a long queue formed outside the Kukje Gallery, as people waited to buy tickets to ‘Starry Beach.’ Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was a cap on the number of daily visitors. On the final day of the exhibition, tickets were gone early in the morning. If this had been a work of a new artist, we’d be looking at the birth of someone special. Much to our surprise, both shows were by d’strict, a digital design firm that works with brands for media shows. It held an exhibition as a media artist unit at the Kukje Gallery, and has now opened a museum in Jeju. How can you not be curious about d’strict?


‘Wave,’ Public Media Art Work
The wave has reaches Samseong Station. ‘Wave’ is the first of the ‘public media art series’ launched by d’strict in 2020. On an 80mX20m LED screen installed at the station’s K-Pop Square, d’strict placed the huge waves using anamorphic illusion. CNN, Reuters and other foreign media took notice of ‘Wave.’ It has garnered over 100 million views on SNS, putting d’strict’s name on the international map.

a’strict, ‘Starry Beach’, 2020

‘Starry Beach’ by a’strict 
People flocked to the gallery to hear the sound of 6-meter waves crashing. ‘Starry Beach’ is the inaugural work by a’strict, the new media artist unit for d’strict. The exhibition, held at the Kukje Gallery, was a major hit on social media, with the COVID-19 restrictions limiting the number of visitors.
Intersection of Design Firm and Artists
d’strict is a creative group that produces digital design projects based on spaces. In the past, it mostly stayed in the commercial design realm and created contents for a wide range of purposes and functions, using digital media technologies. And staring with the public media art ‘Wave’ at COEX in April, d’strict has also reached into contemporary art. The name of the company is a combination of the words design and strictly, and it strives to creative products of the highest quality while measuring itself against strict standards. That’s at the core of d’strict’s brand philosophy. Its products have the power to make people stop in mid stride and to bring them out to form a queue under the beating sun, and it must come from the company’s commitment to excellence.
Typically, d’strict has its foundation in collaboration. “To create works of high quality using digital media, you would more often than not need assistance from experts and colleagues from different fields,” said Lee Sung-ho, CEO of d’strict. “No one person can do it alone.” Lee said the company values the importance of working together, and he and his colleagues, using digital contents and technology, look to create things that people will fall in love with. Whether it’s commercial design or more of an art project, their works start with the common question. “What would people like?” The Arte Museum was no exception.
Arte Museum, Star

Arte Museum, Star

Arte Museum, Wormhole

Arte Museum, Wormhole

Immersive Museum That Stimulates All Senses
The Arte Museum generated headlines just by its association with d’strict. The word ‘arte’ means art in Latin, and its etymology also points to technology. And it was the perfect name for the kind of museum that d’strict wanted to build. The Arte Museum is an immersive art exhibition hall. In addition to providing visual experience, it also stimulates your senses of hearing and smell. It captures the beauty of scent and sound. Hwang Byeong-joon, the two-time Grammy Award winner and head of Soundmirror Korea, handled the sound directing. ‘Scentby,’ the official Asian rep for the Grasse Institute of Perfumery (GIP), was in charge of the fragrance for the entire museum. The old speaker factory was transformed into a place where you can experience art works with all your senses.
The Arte Museum, which opened on Sept. 30, covers 4,600㎡ of ground and reaches 10m in height, making it the largest media art exhibition space in Korea. Under the concept of ‘Eternal Nature,’ there are 10 pieces of works on display based on natural spaces and objects, with titles including ‘Garden,’ ‘Flower,’ Beach,’ Waterfall’ and ‘Wormhole.’ It takes an average of two hours to see all of them, but you can easily jump from one place to the next. You can soak in the waves and stars created by d’strict as much as you want and however you want.

Arte Museum, Beach









Must-See Pieces at the Arte Museum
Garden | The first show at Garden covers Jeju’s nature and the history of Western art. ‘Jeju lsland in the Garden of Light’ and ‘Masterpieces in the Garden of Light’ are the titles of 30-minute immersive media art shows.
Beach | The ‘Endless Surreal Beach’ stretches out right before you. This gorgeous beach created by d’strict expands endlessly with mirrors, turning it into a mysterious space of thoughts.
Waterfall | The eight-meter media waterfall is beyond magnificent. The 14-angle mirrors help expand it infinitely.
Wave | This piece is the same mold as d’strict’s most famous projects. The enormous wave comes crashing toward the audience, but it’s actually trapped inside.
아르떼뮤지엄을 즐기는 관람객들

Visitors at Arte Museum

Interview with d’strict
Why is d’strict so hot? And just how far could it go? Lately, d’strict has sought to go beyond commercial design and move into the realm of fine art. CEO Lee Sung-ho is at the center of it all. We asked him about his company and its museum, the Arte Museum.
Q. What did you try to accomplish when you opened the Arte Museum?
A. The essence of ‘digital,’ a tool that we at d’strict handle with dexterity, is closely associated with ‘eternity.’ And if you make a good use of digital technology and contents, you can create something eternal, if artificial. And we believed that, if we can present nature that has been reinterpreted as media art, then we can give people some comfort. That was the area that we focused on the most when building the Arte Museum.

Q. What does it mean to d’strict to have your own space?
A. We’ve been doing commercial design for quite some time. We would be compensated for the work we did for our clients. But creators tend to have their imagination and creativity shackled in such commercial projects. It is important for d’strict to have our own space in that it helps us overcome these creative limitations that we experience in commercial activities. By taking initiatives in creating what we felt were great pieces of work and having people consume them, we felt we could still be profitable.
Actually, the Arte Museum wasn’t our first attempt at giving ourselves our own space. In 2011, we had the 4D art park called ‘Live Park,’ the early form of a media art exhibition. This was a bit ahead of its time, and we weren’t able to turn it into a permanent exhibition. And it set us back a great deal, and we had to make up for that with our commercial projects. It wasn’t until this year that we were finally able to have our own space with the Arte Museum.



Arte Museum

Q. Why did you open the Arte Museum in Jeju Island? And how did you incorporate Jeju’s geographical features into your projects?
A. The central theme to the Arte Museum is ‘Eternal Nature.’ And we thought the description fits Jeju the best. Of exhibitions there, ‘Flower’ was built on the concept of wisteria tree and other plants that grow in Jeju. ‘Garden’ highlights the beautiful landscape of Jeju. ‘Arte Tea Bar’ offers teas made with local ingredients, and they will help you experience Jeju even more fully.

Q. d’strict is a commercial design firm with people coming from all sorts of backgrounds. How did your approach to the Arte Museum differ from the one to more commercial projects?
A. With the Arte Museum, we took our own initiatives to create something that we wanted to display. Under the theme of ‘nature,’ we did everything ourselves without any outside assistance, whether it was selecting materials or figuring out how to present the final pieces. For over a year, key leaders met once a week to discuss our general direction and also finer details. Thanks to the collective effort, the Arte Museum embodies all the know-how and experience d’strict has had over the years, and it’s absolutely the place that we wanted to build for ourselves. For our creators, it was an opportunity to let themselves loose and work with all the creativity that they could conjure up.


Nexen Univecity, ‘The Infinity Wall’
This is the installation on the first floor lobby at Nexen Univercity, the R&D center for Nexen Tire in Gangseo-gu, Seoul. The company’s management philosophy and core values are expressed in visual content played on the large LED wall. ‘The Infinity Wall’ captured the iF Design Award.
Q. I don’t believe I’ve seen any media art pieces that have generated such immediate reactions as yours. What do you think has been the key to their success?
A. I don’t think it’s because we have any special technology. It’s more due to the mindset and philosophy that we have when creating content. We use software and tools that anyone can use, but we have our own corporate culture that makes us driven to achieve high quality of our creative works. We want to live up to our name, which comes from ‘design’ and ‘strictly.’ We have a great number of creative leaders who would willingly make changes to projects that they’re not entirely satisfied with, even if their clients may like them. I think d’strict has earned recognition and praise because we have always stayed committed to details and quality, regardless of the project.

Q. Among natural elements that d’strict works with, I am a fan of ‘water’ from your beaches and waves.
A. Nature is something that’s intuitive and also comforting for people. We thought about how we can present nature in a new, different way using media, and we settled on water. Water never stays the same and constantly changes, and you can just mindlessly stare at water. We decided water could be the central element to our projects, and it made its way into ‘Wave,’ ‘Starry Beach’ and the Arte Museum. Creators behind these projects all work on different teams, but they’ve all developed expertise in water.
2011년 디스트릭트가 진행한 ‘라이브 파크’ 프로젝트

2011년 디스트릭트가 진행한 ‘라이브 파크’ 프로젝트

2011년 디스트릭트가 진행한 ‘라이브 파크’ 프로젝트

‘Live Park’ by d’strict from 2011

Q. Is there any single project that you take a special liking to?
A. I’d like to talk about ‘Live Park,’ the 4D art park I mentioned earlier. We invested 15 billion won into it to have it over 11,570㎡ at Kintex in Ilsan in 2011. It was d’strict’s first attempt to have our own space and it was a reckless one at that. About 70 to 80 percent of our workforce stayed involved in this project for over a year. We wanted to go where nobody had ever gone. We went through so much and learned a great deal, too. And when I think about all the projects we’ve done, ‘Live Park’ comes to my mind first. The research and development we did while preparing for ‘Live Park’ and elements of our final product all laid important groundwork for our development as a space-based digital design company. They became the foundation for media art exhibitions and digital theme parks.

Q. What do you have in mind for the future of d’strict?
A. I hope d’strict will help build an environment where gifted creators in the digital design industry will be compensated fairly and be able to work with pride. It would allow creators to fully use their creativity while doing commercial works without having any inner conflicts, and to have those projects lead to profits. I think a lot of others are dreaming of the same thing. From ‘Wave’ to the Arte Museum, we have been more aggressive this year in trying to create such an environment. I want to make sure these attempts will lead to commercial success so that we become a great company for creators to work for. And I am also hoping our influence will reach over the rest of the industry and aid so many talented creators on a practical level.
라이브 파크

Live Park

라이브 파크는 이후 디스트릭트가 공간 기반 디지털 디자인 컴퍼니로 발전하는 데 큰 밑걸음이 되었다.

Live Park laid foundation for d’strict to grow into a space-based digital design company.

Q. What inspires you the most? What are some of the spaces or moments that you’d like to capture?
A. I don’t have any fixed source of inspiration. By observing people and the time we live in, and by thinking long and hard about them, we’re able to come up with unique styles of expression and products. I don’t have any specific place in mind, but since the Arte Museum opened, I’ve been thinking about presenting some beautiful space that is connected to nature. Whether it’s the universe or a desert, we’ll keep trying to capture extraordinary moments in nature that we don’t usually get to experience in our daily lives, and do so with works at the Arte Museum.

Q. What do you want people to take away from the Arte Museum?
A. The Arte Museum is built on the concept of ‘Eternal Nature.’ By reinterpreting natural space and materials with media, we wanted to provide people with comfort. Nature is such a vast subject matter and it’s easy to assume there would be no boundaries to how it can be expressed. But bringing nature indoors has its limitations, both temporally and spatially. So we tried to come up with nature that would transcend time and space. The Arte Museum does have areas where Jeju’s natural elements have been reinterpreted. There are also other parts of the museum that will allow you to experience some unfamiliar aspects of nature. Especially during this global pandemic, I think the Arte Museum is just the place that can offer people the sort of comfort and solace they need. Just as the brochure says, you should just let your guard down and feel as though you’re just entering some natural space. I hope people will feel the comfort in their own ways.
아르떼뮤지엄, 문

Arte Museum, Moon



Arte Museum

Arte Museum
478 Eorimbi-ro, Aewol-eup, Jeju
Phone +82-64-799-9009
Hours 10:00~19:00 (Gates close at 18:00), open year-round
November 2020 Editor:Kim Hyewon
Cooperation: d’stric

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  • November 2020
  • Editor: Kim Hyewon
  • Cooperation: d’stric
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