Dalki (Strawberry) is a cartoon character invented to market clothes and other products for children and young adults. This imaginary girl lives in a garden with her fruity friends. Dalki Theme Park (in the Heyri Art Valley in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Korea) is a retail store-cum-entertainment space designed by architects Cho Min-suk, James Slade and Choi Moon-gyu.
The building is a synthetic hyper-representation of nature: mimicking while questioning the nature of nature. The roof garden boasts a “petting zoo” peppered with king-size fruit and vegetable sculptures, a feature that illustrates the overall concept of convergence of the real and the imaginary. On the main floor, oversized furniture looks as if it was plucked from a scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Although it is aimed at children, the basic idea of “I Like Dalki” seems to be creating an informal setting where adults can be immersed in the pleasures of a childlike fantasy world. Yet it’s a physically confusing space where the central message is: “The only way you can enjoy your childhood is by buying our products.” There’s little that kids or adults can do other than buy a couple of items stamped with Dalki’s face.