On Wednesday we traveled to Samsung BioLogics, which is a branch of the larger Samsung company. In Korea Samsung is much wider reaching that it in the US. While Samsung conjures pictures of phones and flat screen TVs for us, in Korea they’re a huge conglomerate that has their hands in almost everything. You can drive a Samsung car, live in a Samsung apartment, and go to a Samsung hospital. Samsung alone counts for approximately 25% of Korea’s GDP. Samsung BioLogics is dedicated to scaling up the process of collecting proteins from biological systems. Essentially, they take a culture of cells and hold it at exactly the right conditions for it to produce the desired protein. They then collect the protein, bottle it, and ship it to the company that contracted them.Its is a newer branch, only 8 years old, but already extremely competitive. A major factor in that is the connections they have through their parent company: their facilities were built by Samsung Construction, and their machines are equipped with Samsung technology. It’s really interesting to see how Samsung has arms in almost every step of the process, and the way this integrated business model allows them to be so fast in developing and manufacturing new technologies.
After Samsung, we took a trip down to City Hall, where we learned about the history of the new and old City Hall buildings. The old city hall was built during the Japanese invasion, and is now a library. The interior has been redone, but the building still maintains its historical facade. In a lot of ways, the Korean people are very conscious of preserving and teaching about the painful periods of their history. Rather than tear down the building, they gave it a new life, using it as a place to educate younger generations. The new City Hall is much larger, and is a beautiful building with a completely glass exterior. Inside, there’s a huge hanging garden that’s incredibly beautiful, and actually works to regulate the internal temperature of the building, acting as a sort of buffer when temperatures get too hot or cold. There’s also a huge amount of natural light in the building, and the whole place is designed to be welcoming and bright. The entire basement level, for instance is intended for citizens to be able to come in and lodge complaints. On that floor, there’s a library, a lounge, a cafe, and plenty of places to sit and relax. It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into making the new City Hall welcoming, and it certainly came across that way to me.