Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Designer and artist.
Hometown: Born in San Francisco but grew up in Seoul.
Studio location: Detroit.
Describe what you make: My recent works explore reductive and unexpected forms that blur the line between art and design. My inspiration comes from an old Korean saying that means “It is modest but not humble, and impressive but not extravagant.” I admire this as an attitude and also as an aesthetic. My Korean heritage has been influential and led me to a reductive aesthetic, in which I merge Eastern philosophy with experimental forms. I like the idea of being balanced, sophisticated, and elegant. Without being pretentious or decorative, you can still make things impressive. By getting rid of unnecessary elements, I believe the main idea comes to the forefront. I hope people can see a subtle beauty in my work that creates a unique experience and lasting impression.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: The Cantilever Table represents my philosophy well. The simple process of bending sheet metal can create three-dimensional form. A thin gauge of metal supports my idea of an aesthetic of emptiness by describing positive and negative space. Users have the freedom to explore the use of negative space created in the corner of the table. To balance the positive and negative space in an interesting way, it is essential to explore form. The concept of emptiness is a traditional Korean aesthetic. In painting, the unpainted portion of a surface is as important as the part that is painted. It’s about respecting the emptiness as much as the object. So through practicing the beauty of the void, I respect not only the object itself but also the negative space that an object creates. Rather than a deficiency, the voids welcome in air, surroundings, and the spirit of a space; the empty spaces in my pieces also invite users to interact with the objects in an inventive and personal way that creatively complete the work.
Describe the problem your work solves: My recent work is less about solving, and more about inspiring. I hope to inspire people with my work by creating unique objects with a story.
Describe the project you are working on now: I’m working on a wall mirror collection for my upcoming solo show. Each piece will function as art and as wall mirrors. I’m inspired to bring nature into the domestic space in a poetic and abstracted way. It becomes a sort of window into another kind of space. I intend to leave space for interpretation by the viewer. I’m currently working on exploring the relationship between entities, their proportions, and proximity to one another to finalize the design.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: I will have my solo show in NYC with Colony. The date is not confirmed yet, but it’ll probably be in November.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Something to drink and AirPods.
What you do when you’re not working: Cooking for myself and the people I love.
Sources of creative envy: I have many, but I’m currently inspired by Dansaekhwa (“monochrome painting”) painters from Korea: Ufan Lee, Chonghyun Ha, Seobo Park, etc.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Missing home. Like friends, family, and my dog in Korea. It gets me emotional sometimes.
Concrete or marble? Marble. Rigid and delicate at the same time.
High-rise or townhouse? Love both for different reasons.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts feel more real.
Dark or light? Between dark and light.