(Seoul) “That was quite an eye-opener. I thought design was only about MP3 players and mobile phones”. Hee-Beom Lee, Korea’s minister of commerce industry and energy, was not being ironic. Most industry ministers I ever met spend their days trying to boost high-tech. But for Mr Lee the opposite holds true: high tech is normal, whereas an exhibition of furniture, sporting and medical goods seemed to be a genuine novelty. The lavish exhibiton featured products (and a few websites) that have won prestigious European and US design awards in recent times. These museal objects struck me as beautiful but quaint compared to the state of the art DMB (digital media broadcasting) phones everyone around me was using. For cyber-literate Koreans – ie, nearly everyone here – the fusion of real and online worlds seems to have become an utter normality. 90 percent of Korean twenty-somethings (and one third of the population as a whole) are cultivating their own “minihompy” (= mini home page) in Cyworld. A Cyworld minihompy differs from a regular blog by featuring an online “miniroom” which complements the owner’s real world home. For Korea-based writer Robert Koehler,“browsing through the countless online photo diaries may be the most addicitive feature of the service”. An Australian artist, Emil Goh, compared the two worlds in “Seoul: Until Now!”.