How many designers do you know create pieces inspired by the human form? It is this attention to detail and passion that makes designer Minwoo Lee the target of attention this week. I have featured industrial designer in the past but this South Korean designer is one of a kind. I had the opportunity to catch up with Minwoo and ask about the inner working of the business, from the planning stages to early development. Read below for the full interview…
Could you tell us a bit how it was like to study at Konkuk University?
Unfortunately, what I learnt at the university was almost nothing. All they taught was the designs for getting a good job in large companies. I believe that this is causing a serious problem throughout not only the students themselves, but also the design scene in Korea. It was very lucky for me to meet the members of iDEALGRAPHY deisgn team who are looking at the same direction as myself.
The Klassiker Chair was your first lounge chair creation. It features a really high back making it quite formal for a lounge chair. Could you describe your creative process when you approached this piece?
First of all, I wanted to design a comfortable chair. Before starting design process, I observed how people sit when they feel comfortable. Interestingly, most people loved to straighten their legs ahead and lay back as much as they can. I tried to adapt this to my project and Klassiker chair was created. The inspiration was people after all.
Many of your designs are inspired or motivated by unrelated subject matter. How do you apply your creativity to connect the dots? Where do you gain your inspiration?
My researching range is not limited to design scenes only, but includes natures as well. Researching processes help me have general knowledge of design, global design trends and design processes. However, researching natural object helps me have inspirations and it affects greatly to my emotional side. I guess this is the energy that I could create new designs.
How long does it take to develop a product?
It took four months after the design was finished. The most difficult part was searching for the technician and actually building it.
What advice do you have for designers wanting to export?
It is certainly difficult for Asian, especially Korean designers to export their products, but I would suggest them to keep working hard if they have clear visions. Members of iDEALGRAPHY had searched for the factory for more than two years, and we are still acting aggressively to change the design scene.
What is your favorite thing at home that you didn’t design?
A CD player designed by Naoto Fukusawa. He is one of my favorite Japanese designers.
In recent years, American furniture leaves us the strong impression that the classic style is predominant, while the modern takes a backseat. In your opinion do you feel Asia design for modern style gets enough attention?
I would say Modern style from Asia is doing well worldwide. Several Japanese designers are the proof. Asian designer are now introducing their own unique modern designs to the world and it will be spotlighted much more than now soon.
We can imagine fashion design and furniture design being very different. How do you approach these two fields of design? Are there any similarities in the process that you use towards them both?
Every category has its own professions, but in a wide perspective, I believe that design is design after all. Designs in different categories are related to one another, and they affect greatly to each other. I think this is the source of creativity in certain ways.
Do you have any upcoming exhibits or new designs you could tell us about?
I am going to participate in Seoul Design Festival holding on 14th of Dec. It will be the first exhibition participating under my name(participated under iDEALGRAPHY’s name so far) and new chairs and design products will be introduced with Klassiker chair.
Lastly, could you offer up any advice to a creative looking to persue furniture or product design?
Designers create future by fighting present. We frequently face many barriers, such as the gap between dream and reality, material, production process and etc. we have to overcome this to show the future to the people.
Want to keep tabs on Minwoos current and future projects? Follow his cookie crumb trail below: