Korean alphabet won the gold medal in this year's Winter Olympics
This month, from 9 to 25 February 2018 Pyeongchang County in South Korea hosts the impressive 2018 Winter Olympics.
Seoul-based industrial designer Lee Suk-woo designed the medals for the international multi-sport event and the Korean alphabet is the mere inspiration for the first South Korean Winter Olympic - and the second Olympics in the country overall after the 1988 Summer Olympics in the nation's capital, Seoul.
Featuring diagonal ridges, which have been formed from extrusions of the country's 600-year-old alphabet Lee's medals are formed from extrusions of the letters of Hangeul -the Korean alphabet that dates back to the 15th century.
To create the surface Lee digitally laid out letters from the alphabet in two vertical lines, and wrapped the text to form the edges of a disk. Rendering software was used to join the edges diagonally, creating ridges that warp from end to end, dictated by the curved and flat shapes of the character profiles. The alphabet can still be read around the medal rims.
"The stems of Hangeul, the seeds of culture, are cut into a circular shape," said the designer. "The side of the medal show Hangeul – the seed – and the obverse shows the stem and the process."
Per Dezeen Lee also looked to traditional aspects of Korean culture for the design of the medal ribbons and boxes.
The ribbons will also be decorated with letters from the Hangeul alphabet.
Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, refers to the series of letters that form syllables with which the Korean language is written.
The most unique aspect of Hangeul is that it was intentionally created by the government as a written means of expressing the Korean language. History states that King Sejong, who was the 4th king of the Joseon Dynasty, created Hangeul with the help of a team of scholars, making it the most significant invention in Korean history.
Koreans take pride in their alphabet. They believe that Hangeul best demonstrates the creativity of Koreans during the past 5000 years of Korean civilization.
Koreans mark the 9th of every October as a national celebration to commemorate the creation of Hangeul. As the only national celebration for an alphabet in the world, this day reflects the uniqueness of an alphabet created and systematized by a government to reflect the unique sounds of a language.
Hangeul is a series of creative and scientifically created characters. The alphabet was originally composed of 17 consonants and 11 vowels when it was first conceived however, now only 14 consonants and 10 vowels are used. Consonants and vowels are used to write words by crossing and addition. The easy and simple to learn alphabet is regarded the sole reason the illiteracy rate in Korea is virtually zero.
The quality of Hangeul has been extensively studied and praised by experts worldwide. In 1989, UNESCO initiated the King Sejong Literacy Prize, which is awarded to an individual or group, which contributes to the crusade against illiteracy.
Lee Suk-woo also produced the Paralympic medals for the upcoming event -the Paralympics will take place from March 9 to 18.
The Winter Games will be followed by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.