GACHI-GACHI, codesign graduation project

“Gachi-gachi” means the value of being together in Korean. Like the name, Hyunju Ahn, codesign graduate originally from South Korea, wanted to co-create a play tool, where the time that children play with their friends becomes more valuable. In her final thesis project she has been exploring ways to co-create a set of play tools to encourage children to make their own play.



Hyunju explains: Gachi-gachi is a play tool co-designed with children for Korean rural play facilities run by Save the Children. During the last four months, I have been exploring ways to co-create a set of play tools to encourage children to make their own play through iterations of workshops in Denmark and South Korea.

Considering the sociality, physical development, and creativity that can be gained through play, play is valuable to children. Moreover, play itself is the right that children should have to live a happy childhood. Despite the importance of play, South Korean children are generally in situations that lack play. In cities, there is a vicious circle which is caused by the enthusiasm for education, so they don’t have enough time to play. On the other hand, it is difficult for rural children to play with friends, because the children live far away from each other, and their parent’s variable work schedules make it difficult to arrange play dates. Collaborating with Save the Children Korea, I specifically aimed for the rural children in South Korea.


I have been exploring ways to co-create a set of play tools to encourage children to make their own play. My project site was a place for children to play freely without the guidance of the teacher, so I had to create a play tool that children could use more actively by themselves. Since the children’s creative ideas came from their precious experience during the workshops, the fi nal outcome was focused on making the most of the children’s knowledge of play. The flexibility of children’s play makes it possible.

The outcome is a set of colored “black hole” mats and an activity booklet based on the fi nal prototyping in South Korea and Denmark. It is completed with knowledge of play that the children already have, especially play on the fl oor surface. They can develop a new play together by applying new rules to an existing play. The black hole mats stimulate kids’ imagination, while the booklet guides children or lets someone help them figure out how to use it. It will help children make their own play and it has a value of making talk about play that is familiar to them.


Hyunju Ahn in collaboration with Save the Children Korea and Copenhagen International School.


She has been working with the UN-goal number four.



Learn more about the project at the Design and Architecture Graduation Exhibition 1/7 – 13/8 2017 from 11.00 – 18.00 at KADK, Udstillingen and Festsalen: Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé 51-53. 1435 Copenhagen K.


About Eva Brandt

Eva Brandt is Professor in Social Design at Design School Kolding since May 2019. Eva is scientific leader of the Lab for Social Design. The main part of her research is about how designers can stage open design processes (design labs based on participatory design/codesign) with many participants who both can inquire into existing practices and explore possible futures in common. She also contributes to theorizing about experimental design research driven by programs and experiments. She has been contributing to several books such as Design Spaces (IT Press, 2005), Rehearsing the Future (The Danish Design School Press, 2010), XLAB (The Danish Design School Press, 2011), Facilitating Change – Using Interactive Methods in Organizations, Communities and Networks (Polyteknisk Forlag, 2011), and Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Design (Routledge, 2013). Practice Based Design Reseach (2017). Ledelse og samskabelse i den offentlige sektor (2018). Eva has been chairing the Nordic Design Research Conference in 2013, and are chairing the Nordes 2021 too.
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